Glendale Unified School District has handled several big issues in the past 12 months, such as the school calendar and a new superintendent. However, the decision to divide the school district for future board of education elections is extremely important to all community members – not just those who have students in school. The change will come over the next few months as the community attends outreach meetings, familiarizes itself with the proposed maps, and provides feedback to the school board. More information, including draft maps, is available on the GUSD website.
Glendale Community College went through a similar process in 2015. Fortunately, the same demographer that assisted GCC has also formulated the draft maps for GUSD. In addition, the demographer is familiar with the uniqueness of the Crescenta Valley community.
In all four draft maps the Crescenta Valley High School attendance area will be divided. Draft map D bisects the valley, closely following Pennsylvania Avenue. Map B divides Lincoln Elementary into two different voting areas. Draft map A and C divide both Lincoln and Fremont elementary schools. Partitioning the Crescenta Valley is not ideal, but the division is required to ensure equal population distribution.
The bigger concern for voters is how the current board members are assigned to each voting area. The ideal situation is that each voting area has one representative who resides locally. Accordingly, that board member is expressly connected to local issues at the school and in the community. That representative is making their home within that area; they are shopping, attending sporting events, going to school and socializing in the area they represent and live in.
Jennifer Freemon has served the school district well and I have been happy to work with her over the past years. According to the draft maps she will be representing Area 1, Crescenta Valley. The maps are misrepresenting Jennifer Freemon’s residence as she is actually a temporary resident of Crescenta Valley with a permanent residence in Glendale proper. Therefore, Crescenta Valley does not have a valid representative. Freemon raises her family down in Glendale near Franklin where her children attend school. When Freemon moves back to her home in Glendale the Crescenta Valley will be left without a local representative.
Finally, Area 5 does not currently have a board member residing within its boundaries. What will happen if no one chooses to run for this board position? Will that seat remain empty or will the school board appoint a fifth member?
All residents, parents and community members are encouraged to attend the community outreach meetings offered by GUSD. An additional Saturday meeting has been added on March 12 at 9 a.m. at the district offices. The local Crescenta Valley meeting will be on Wednesday, March 16 at 6 p.m. at CVHS. If you are unable to attend any of these meetings, please make your opinions known by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The school board will choose a draft map on April 19, 2016. The official adoption will take place on May 3, 2016 with the first elections taking place in April 2017.