The Santa Clarita Community College District will wait to approve a final trustee area map after receiving little public input from constituents at its first public hearing of two.
The College of the Canyons board announced it was seeking public input regarding draft maps for realignment of trustee areas in accordance with state law. However, in its Wednesday meeting only one person submitted input, prompting the COC board to wait until the next meeting to adopt a trustee area map.
“We passed a resolution to approve the criteria for realignment on Nov. 10,” said Edel Alonso, president of the board and representative of trustee area No. 2. “The board held the requested study session to increase our understanding of the data and the redistricting process itself.”
The state of California requires that in the year following the census the board of trustees of a community college district that conducts its elections by trustee area adjust the boundaries of those areas to make the populations of the areas nearly equal.
According to the agenda, the redistricting process will impact the trustee areas for elections starting in 2022. Board members Michael Berger, trustee area No. 1, and Joan MacGregor, trustee area No. 5, will have their seats open for election in November 2022.
COC board members Sebastian Cazares and Michele Jenkins represent trustee areas No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
The COC board hired Cooperative Strategies, a consultant company dedicated to creating equitable environments for students, to assist with the redistricting process. Angela Banuelos, a demographer with the company, helped draw three draft maps.
In scenario one, Banuelos said she adjusted the boundaries slightly without disrupting a lot of the voters.
“Trustee area No. 3 was shifted south to include portions of (Trustee area No. 4) to bring the district back into their variance compliance which is below 10%,” Banuelos said. “This whole scenario has a variance of 6.5%.”
According to Banuelos, a trustee area map may not have a variance higher than 10% as it indicates one area has greater number of people and more voting power than another.
In scenario two, Banuelos identified communities of interest and distinguished places identified by the United States Census Bureau.
“In this case we tried to keep the Hasley Canyon, Castaic, Val Verde and Stevenson Ranch areas together and try to keep community interest within (trustee area No. 1) and (decrease the west boundary, but increase the size of the eastern boundary) of (trustee area No. 5).”
The Newhall and Saugus areas divided between trustee areas No. 2 and No. 3 would be split up because there is greater population in those two areas, Banuelos said.
This particular map has a variance of 8.8%, according to the draft map.
In scenario No. 3, the draft map was drawn in consideration of keeping the areas more compact and contiguous compared to the “proof boundary” scenario two’s map, Banuelos said.
“This one (map) moves trustee area No. 3 to the southwest. Trustee area No.5 was moved a little north to cover portions of Hasley Canyon and Soledad Canyon,” Banuelos said.
Banuelos added that scenario three has a variance of 6.0%. and the population is equally distributed.
Local resident Jason Burgdorfer gave the only public comment. He noted that all scenarios should avoid trustee area boundaries running down local neighborhood and residential streets rather than major roads.
“The issue is most prevalent in the proposed scenario three,” Burgdorfer said. “Areas of concern include Tesoro Del Valle neighborhood between trustee areas No. 1 and No. 2, the Bouquet Canyon Road area in Saugus between trustee areas No. 2 and No. 5, and Plum Canyon between trustee areas No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5.”
According to Alonso, the board will adopt a draft map after one more public hearing on Jan. 19.
The next trustee board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2022, at 5 p.m. For information on the redistricting process, visit www.canyons.edu/administration/board/elections/index.php.