ENCINITAS — For the first time since moving from at-large voting in 2017, the San Dieguito Union High School District must look at redrawing its district lines following this year’s federal census.
By law, similar to cities with by-trustee voting, the district must look at census data every 10 years and, if necessary, make changes based on shifts in population. Final changes must be submitted by March 1.
“This is not a clean redraw from scratch,” said Jonathan Salt, of Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP, a law firm hired by the district in 2017 to help their transition to districts. “This is going to be taking the current map and moving it a little bit to get it into balance.”
Based on the recent census data, Trustee Area 5, the southernmost area in the district currently represented by newly-elected Trustee Julie Bronstein, saw a significant enough increase in population to warrant an adjustment to get all of the trustee areas’ populations similar in size.
“If you look at Area 5 under the 2020 Census, there are about nine or 10 thousand more people living in Area 5 than in any other district in the school district,” Salt said.
The rest of the areas in the school district remain relatively equal in population size following the recent census.
The school board has laid out a timeline for how and when it will make the adjustments to its trustee map, including committing to adopting a final map during its regular meeting on Feb. 17. So far, no maps have been created but the district said once created, they will be available for the public to review on the district’s website.
The timeline was created by Trustee Michael Allman and Bronstein, along with district staff.
“We feel that it’s critical that this process be handled in a transparent manner and we want to provide plenty of opportunities for public input,” Bronstein said.
Bronstein said that on Jan. 17 there will be a website launched where the public can submit alternative maps for the board’s consideration. It is not clear if members of the public will be allowed to send those submissions anonymously.
The website will allow submissions of alternative maps until the deadline of Feb. 4. The demographer that will be hired by the district will also provide alternative maps for the school district to choose from.
“We’re planning to have a special board meeting on Feb. 8 at which time we will select the final three trustee area maps,” Bronstein said.
SDUHSD has been using its by-trustee system since 2017, going through two election cycles and a special election in Trustee Area 5 last year.