By Charly SHELTON
On Tuesday the biweekly Glendale Unified School District Board of Education meeting was held, which was also an official public forum and hearing for the trustee area districting conversion. The meeting started with congratulating returning champions from Glendale High School.
The 2016 GHS dance team competed at the USA Spirit Nationals in March and brought home three first-place wins. This totals 17 first-place wins for the team since 1999. The entire dance team filled the boardroom and each member was given a certificate of recognition for their win in the national competition held in Massachusetts.
From there, the floor was opened to public comments and to the public forum on trustee area districting. This has been an ongoing discussion for several months about the district’s conversion from an at-large electing district to a trustee area electing district. The process began with three options for dividing the school district – Maps A, B and C. The number of options has since more than doubled to a total of seven maps resulting from discussion, compromise and revision. Maps A through G were on display on Tuesday and up for discussion while the board tried to narrow down its choice to a single map. Once chosen, that map will be put into a resolution and voted on so that it may be taken to the California State Board for approval.
Some maps were more controversial than others, especially for the Crescenta Valley. Maps D and E broke the Crescenta Valley up into two separate trustee areas, an idea that has met with pushback from the community. Leslie Dickson, president of the Crescenta Valley Town Council, was the only speaker in the public forum and she spoke on behalf of the CVTC to endorse maps A, B, C, F or G.
“The Crescenta Valley Town Council knows how important teamwork is to help a community thrive,” Dickson said. “We’ve supported the needs of the entire valley for years, including getting a crossing guard at Rosemont Middle School. That’s why the Crescenta Valley Town Council would like to endorse the idea of community, togetherness and cohesiveness when choosing a map for the trustee voting areas.
“Although none of the maps are perfect, we believe that the maps which keep the CV High School boundaries intact is most representative of our community.”
GUSD Board President Dr. Armina Gharpetian, during the period of the board’s deliberation and debate, voiced her support of these maps because they split the Crescenta Valley into two districts, therefore giving the residents more representation on the board of education.
“I’m thinking about 10, 15 years from now and right now, as board members, all of us think at large,” Gharpetian said. “We haven’t been elected as trustee area members and even if we go [with any particular map], this board will still continue that attitude of seeing the whole district together. But 10, 15, 20 years from now it’s not going to be like that.”
As the board tried to narrow down the choices from seven maps to one or two, maps B, D and E were initially eliminated, followed by maps C and F. With the choices of maps A and F still on the table, each board member was given time to share their thoughts. Gharpetian was insistent that Map D was still viable, leading to even more debate.
“I think we’ve heard pretty strongly from the community that they appreciate your point of view but they have a different one,” said Board Member Christine Walters.
With the choices now narrowed down to maps A, G and possibly D, the decision was pushed off to a future meeting while more maps are drawn up and discussions had among the board. The next meeting on May 3 was initially slated to officially vote on and pass the districting map, so it could be that a new map, dubbed Map G2 in discussion, that is released at that meeting.