By Mary O’KEEFE and Charly SHELTON
Crescenta Valley High School will host a discussion on the Glendale Unified School District’s transition from an “at-large” election to a “trustee area” election on March 16 in MacDonald Auditorium located in the 4400 block of Ramsdell Avenue in La Crescenta at 6 p.m.
In the past a requirement for candidates running for the GUSD Board of Education had been that they live within the district’s boarders. There were no criteria on the particular areas within the district where the candidates had to reside. For example, all candidates could be from the south GUSD area or all could be from the north.
The question of whether the elections should be changed from at-large, meaning anyone living within the district could run for a seat on the school board, to a trustee area system, meaning each candidate would represent a specific GUSD area, was put to GUSD area voters in April of last year. It was voted down with 65% voting against changing the election system.
But in April 2015 a complaint was filed by attorney Kevin Shenkman alleging GUSD violated the California Voters Rights Acts. The settlement terms included $139,000 paid in attorney fees and costs, and the requirement that GUSD would transition to a trustee area system, according to GUSD.
During the process of the transition, the GUSD administration was taxed with creating mapping criteria including where the specific trustee area lines will be drawn. Part of the process also includes a series of community meetings to gather input about the district map. The State Board of Education must eventually approve the map.
Three GUSD School Board members’ seats will be up for election in 2017 – Greg Krikorian, Christine Walters and Armina Gharpetian. The two other board seats will be up for election in 2019, those of Jennifer Freemon and Nayiri Nahabedian.
In addition to the March 16 CVHS meeting, the other community meetings are being held at Roosevelt Middle School tonight, March 10, at 6 p.m., the District Office Board Room on March 12 at 9 a.m. and Toll Middle School on March 17 at 6 p.m. On April 5 and April 19 there will be public hearings at the GUSD Board of Education meeting at the district office.
The GUSD School Board plans to adopt the final Trustee Area Map on May 3.
More information can be found at www.gusd.net. The district invites the community to submit its comments or questions to the District’s Demographers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The questions and answers will be combined in a fact sheet and posted on the GUSD website.