Last week, the Eastern Sierra Unified School District’s Board of Education voted on a map that will rebalance trustee, or board member, residence areas. Similar in concept to redistricting that Mono County recently went through, the need to rebalance came on the heels of the 2010 consensus. For ESUSD, however, it was also a matter of compliance.
“We haven’t gone through this process for 30 years,” explained ESUSD Superintendent Don Clark.
In fact, it’s been so long that the District was unable to find an original map of the trustee areas.
“There are no current, approved maps,” Clark said. “The current areas seem to have been grandfathered in, which isn’t legal, so we are coming into compliance.”
The most glaring discrepancy with the current trustee boundaries is that they include Mammoth Lakes even though Mammoth Unified School District was created in 1974-75.
“The main difference that was pointed out was that because Mammoth has their own school district, the ESUSD re-districting was even harder than Mono County’s, as Mono County had the town of Mammoth in the mix,” said Mono County Supervisor Vikki Bauer in an email. She attended the meeting on behalf of a friend who has children in the school district.
Bauer explained to the Board that the County had used a citizens advisory committee to help with its redistricting process, and that all legal challenges that are making it through the California courts now are siding with a citizens committee.
“Also that if they did not feel ready to make a decision that they shouldn’t feel pressured,” Bauer said.
But, as Clark pointed out, the Board had been looking at the reconfiguration for more than a year.
“Ultimately they did decide to proceed and their position was well thought out,” Bauer added.
While the new map is a “pretty radical change” to the way the trustee areas are laid out now, according to Clark, the change is buffered by the fact that the Board chose to stay with an at-large election system rather than change to a by-trustee system. This means that the