ENCINITAS — Despite already voting to approve its new district map, the San Dieguito Union High School District board voted twice this week in a special meeting to ratify its decision, which is being challenged in the courts, but avoided discussion of alleged Brown Act violations.
The school district held a special meeting on Monday with two separate agenda items to “renew and ratify” the board’s previous decision to approve a new trustee area map following the 2020 census.
The map, known as Scenario 8, has drawn widespread criticism from parents in the district who say it splits up elementary school districts, disenfranchises a large number of voters and violates California’s Brown Act.
Cory Briggs, the attorney representing two parents who have filed suit against San Dieguito in regards to the maps, sent a letter to the district which included those allegations.
The letter states the San Dieguito school board has not adequately noticed the discussion of district maps on the district website as required by the Brown Act.
“Archives of the District’s website confirm that the agenda for your Feb. 17 meeting was not posted in compliance with this requirement. As a result of your failure to post the agenda properly, you were expressly prohibited by statute from taking any action or even discussing any of the open-session or closed-session items that you acted on or discussed on Feb. 17,” Briggs wrote.
The agenda item summary stated the board was “to cure and correct any alleged Brown Act violations,” however there was no discussion of the allegations.
Instead, the board heard only a brief summary from Associate Superintendent Tina Douglas, who did not clarify the allegations being made. The board did not hear from legal counsel in the public meeting.
The board heard from 20 members of the public over the two agenda items, the majority of whom were opposed to the new map.
Trustee Melisse Mossy, one of the three trustees who have been supportive of the map and has voted in favor of it at every opportunity, said she was saddened that there was so much conflict over the process.
“I regret that so many people are upset about this map. I know that there are a large number of people in both camps and I wish that we could make everyone happy,” Mossy said. “We really did try our best.”
Much of the discussion of the maps were done in closed session and the district’s legal representative in the process was never allowed to give their opinion on whether the new map was legal or extended beyond the reach of what school districts are meant to do following the federal decennial census.
Trustee Katrina Young, who is part of the minority that has expressed concern over both the chosen map and the selection process, continued to express those same beliefs Monday night.
“I just want to go on public record to say that I still have serious concerns with the process and the map itself,” Young said. “My vote will remain the same as it has been throughout this whole process.”
The lawsuit was meant to see its first hearing Wednesday morning but it was postponed to March 8 so that lawyers on both sides can ascertain if the new map would have any effect on the June primary elections.