The Turlock Unified School District (TUSD) Board of Trustees passed a resolution officially establishing seven trustee districts during a special board meeting Monday night.
The seven districts, numbered 1-7 will stretch across TUSD boundaries in a horizontal fashion from north to south with each trustee district representing at least one or multiple schools. Each trustee district will have a population of roughly 11,500 people.
In addition to the district establishment, trustees also selected the first three districts which will be up for grabs during the 2013 election.
The first districts up for election in 2013 are 2, 4 and 6. Currently, Trustees Tami Muniz serves 2, Bob Weaver and Eileen Hamilton serve in 4 and Josh Bernard serves in 6. However, this year five seats are up for election and should current trustees choose to run again they can elect to serve for either two or four year terms.
“I’m still debating if I’m going to run for more than two years, I’m not sure about four years,” said Muniz. “I’m not sure who is going to run, serving does take a lot time away from your family.”
Board President Frank Lima, along with trustees Muniz, Hamilton, Weaver and Loren Holt are up for reelection this November.
The board decided to establish districts in a proactive response to recent regional lawsuits over the California Voting Rights Act of 2001, and subsequent litigation in the years since. The CVRA states that districts which use at-large election processes can be sued if voting patterns show that minority groups are unfairly being left out of elected positions. Most recently, in May 2009, the Ceres Unified School District was threatened with CVRA litigation.
All but one of the trustees voted for a horizontal map which will give two districts a majority Hispanic population. The districts, 5 and 7, are located on the west and south sides of Turlock.
“Hopefully, it (the districts) will bring out a variety of people to run for board positions,” said Muniz.
Throughout the meeting trustees repeatedly expressed support for the districts, but cautioned against a future where trustees only represent their own specific area of TUSD.
“We aren’t about an area, we are about the whole district,” said Holt.
Lima said the challenge for future trustees will be appealing to their constituents, while maintaining a district-wide view.
The filing date for this November’s election is July 18.
To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.