EL MONTE – The El Monte Union High School District is continuing its efforts to gather community input and boost voter participation as it begins the process of shifting from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections, holding its second in a series of public hearings on Wednesday, Sept. 1.
The shift means that instead of residents voting for any board candidate on the ballot within the District’s boundaries, residents will vote for a single candidate residing in their newly drawn trustee-area, usually one-fifth of the entire District. The change will go into effect November 2022.
“El Monte Union is a community united in our mission to prepare students for college and careers, and this redistricting process is a part of that mission,” Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “This change is not only a reflection of our commitment to being transparent and fair, but is a welcome addition to the many other historic events that have shaped our diverse community.”
The public will have the opportunity to discuss district formation criteria during a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Sept. 1 in the District Board Room, 3537 Johnson Ave., El Monte. Community members can also participate virtually, by going to the EMUHSD website and watching the Board of Trustees live stream. Issues to be discussed could include creating compact, contiguous districts, preserving existing political communities and equal population sizes, and ensuring each high school’s attendance areas are represented by multiple board members.
Professional demographers from NDC will draw possible trustee area maps based on those criteria and present the maps during a public hearing at the regular board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 6. El Monte Union community members will be able to provide input and testimony regarding the proposed trustee areas.
During the first public hearing on Aug. 18 community members heard from representatives from National Demographics Corporation (NDC) – which will draw several maps based on community input and ensure they meet legal and regulatory criteria – and VMA Communications, Inc. – which will conduct widespread community outreach to increase awareness and ensure the process is transparent, inclusive and community-focused.
The District will subsequently host a series of open houses/workshops in the fall. Residents will review and provide input regarding maps and corresponding election plans and learn about the process for selecting a map. More information on these specific dates will be forthcoming.
Revised and additional maps will be reviewed during regular board meetings on Wednesday, Nov. 3 and Wednesday, Dec. 8. The board anticipates narrowing the number of maps for review on or by Wednesday, Jan. 5.
Once the public has provided input, the school board expects to select a final trustee map on Wednesday, Feb. 2. The approved map would then be presented to the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization for approval.