The following is by Nick VaVerka and Skylar Barti
The College of the Canyons Board of Trustees have approved the map that will be adopted in dividing the Santa Clarita Community College District from an at large voting district to trustee area districts for elections.
The Board of Trustees decided on Map A from a selection of six maps presented by the National Demographics Corporation
The approved map will split the the Santa Clarita Community College District, or SCCCD, into five separate trustee area districts. Each district will have only one representative elected to sit on the Board of Trustees.
The approved maps have split the district regionally. District 1 encompasses Castaic, Stevenson Ranch, and part of Newhall. District 2 ecompasses larges parts of Valencia and Saugus.
District 3 cuts through the middle of the valley following a portion of Bouquet Canyon Road. District 4 Encompasses much of Canyon Country and Golden Valley, while district 5 sits between districts 3-4 and ecompasses a highly popluated area of Canyon Country.
The decision comes after a month of deliberation between the Board of Trustees and the public that attended the three public meetings over the last month.
The final public meeting took place in the multipurpose room of Newhall Elementary school early November. The meeting gave the public one final chance to voice concerns and comments about the presented maps.
The public reaction to meeting was fairly mixed, with many not liking the idea of moving to trustee districts, but understand that they are stuck with the decision.
Others have claimed the way the maps are drawn could be considered gerrymandering, due to the way the maps allow each current board member to keep their seat uncontested by another current sitting member.
“It looks like the demographics were drawn correctly,” Wendy Brill-Wynkoop, president of the College of the Canyons Faculty association said. “The faculty’s question was do we need to protect incumbents. All of the six maps (presented) had each of the incumbents in their own district, so they are all protected.
Currently three Trustees live within a mile of each other, Brill-Wynkoop said.
“I think the 10 criteria that were adopted to guide the drawing of the maps were followed,” said Eric Harnish, vice president of public relations for College of the Canyons. “One of the criteria was that trustees not be paired in districts.”
The process to move to trustee area districts started after a lawsuit was filed against the SCCCD that claimed the district violated the California Voting Rights Act, by unequally representing minority voters.
The L.A County Board of Supervisors approved the SCCCD appeal to consolidate the ballot in 2016 with the statewide general election.
Next the map will be presented to the California Board of Governors, for approval of the map to be used.