One of the most important agenda items in a very long time will be considered tonight. Here’s the wording from the agenda:

“16.b. Readjust Trustee Area Boundaries So That The Population Of Each Area Is, As Nearly As May Be Possible, The Same Proportion Of The Total Population Of The District As Each Of The Other Trustee Areas And Commence The Process To Move From At Large To By Trustee Area Elections By November 2018”

The background section of each agenda item contains, well, it contains background. In this case, here’s the third paragraph:

In addition, there is pending litigation in the Superior Court that challenges the method of election as not complying with the California Voting Rights Act.  The Superintended retained a demographer familiar with the requirements of the Act and convened a committee.  Based on work done by the demographer, the committee made a  recommendation on readjustment of boundaries which will ultimately need approval by the Board of Education and County Committee on School District Organization.   Members of the committee and the demographer will be introduced at the Board meeting and information will be provided regarding population areas.

What this all means is that work has been done to make sure that each of the seven trustee districts has the same amount of people. According to the background paragraph two, the rationale is that, “Due to the extensive population growth on the east side of the district, it is necessary to consider readjustment of trustee areas.”

The really big deal here is the “…Process To Move From At Large To By Trustee Area Elections By November 2018.”  

So, the district is trying to make population figures equal in each district while it lurches toward area representation.


If each trustee is elected by a specific area instead of the current at-large system, what difference does it make whether that area has 10,000 people or 15,000? Each of the seven board votes is equal and only those people who live in an area will be able to vote for eligible candidates to represent them. Why change area populations?

Here’s why.

The district is not doing this because they’re bored and ran out of ways to spend your tax dollars. Nor are they doing it because it’s the right thing to do. They are changing boundaries and moving to area representation to avoid a big lawsuit.

Now recall that there has never been a Latino trustee, despite the fact that Latino students make up a large percentage of the overall student population and in some Costa Mesa schools, are the hyper-dominant ethnic group.

So, being that all school board votes are equal and there has never been a Latino trustee, doesn’t make sense to draw the boundaries based on neighborhood or community demographics and interests instead of just numbers of people? Of course it does.

So it will be interesting to see tonight whether the new boundaries for Costa Mesa’s Latino-dominant Area 7 include parts of the “near east side” of the district, which has far fewer Latino residents but is experiencing “extensive population growth.”

Odd… I am an involved and informed person and I haven’t heard anything about any extensive population growth on the east side of the district.

There is no need to redraw anything. Keep things the way they are and just shift to area representation – that is all they need to do to fend off the lawsuit

I know, I know… There I go using that “logic” stuff again.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

P.S. It sure was nice of the administration to place this extremely important agenda item near the end of the meeting when there is a greater likelihood of less people in attendance.