Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Antioch High School wins award for exceptional career-focused education program

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Antioch High School’s Career Choices Silver Medal.

Antioch High School is being recognized with a Career Choices Silver Medal for its outstanding education program promoting college and career readiness.

As a Career Choices Medal School, Antioch High School is among the top five percent of schools across the nation that have exemplified an eagerness to promote student success with the Career Choices series curriculum. The school’s Get Focused…Stay Focused! efforts, alongside My10yearPlan.com, help students plot achievable 10-year plans for their future education and career goals.

Mindy Bingham, author of the Career Choices series, said being awarded a Career Choices Medal is a great accomplishment that requires solid leadership, top-notch teachers and a lot of hard work.

“After nearly 30 years, we know what it takes to implement a program that will result in increased student success and improved college and career readiness,” Bingham said. “Many of the schools we work with are committed to that level of excellence, and that is reflected in their careful planning, intentional implementation of our materials and dedication to ongoing improvement.”

The career-focused course at Antioch High School is administered to freshmen and sophomores, and it has been able to help students from all different backgrounds plan for their future, teacher Nick Wisley said. Specifically, one student who was struggling at Antioch High School was able to improve his grades after learning what kinds of careers were attainable if he attended higher education, Wisley said.

“His grades turned around, and he decided he wanted to continue to go to school after that moment,” Wisley said. “That’s what I love about this course. It’s teaching life.”

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Former Dozier-Libbey principal, Scott Bergerhouse moves to new role at Antioch School District offices

Friday, August 16th, 2019

New AUSD Director of Student Support Services, Scott Bergerhouse in his new office. Photo courtesy of AUSD.

Settles in as Director of Student Support Services.

By Charleen Earley

Scott Bergerhouse grew up attending Antioch schools before taking a teaching position at Park Middle School following college. After 35 years serving thousands of AUSD students as a teacher, vice principal and principal, – most recently for Dozier-Libbey Medical High School – it is rare for Bergerhouse to go anywhere in the community without running into a former student, parent, or colleague.

Bergerhouse’s work has also impacted current teachers and principals in the District including John Jimno, Principal of Park Middle School. “Mr. Bergerhouse was my sixth grade teacher at Park and later my Vice Principal at Antioch High School.” Although Mr. Jimno has many fond memories of Scott, he recalls one incident in particular that impacted him. “I only got in trouble one time in school and I had to go see Mr. Bergerhouse who was then my Vice Principal. I remembered being scared about what my consequence would be. But rather than suspend me or assign me to Saturday School, Scott talked me into becoming a camp counselor for fifth grade students that summer.”

“He taught me something that day that I will never forget and that helped shape the administrator I am today,” says Jimno. “You have people learn more when they do something that makes them grow, that shows that you believe in them. That day Scott showed that he saw something different in me and I try to do the same when students are sent to my office.”

Bergerhouse says he is excited about his new position as Director of Student Support Services.

“I was fortunate enough to work in this position for two months this past year,” he saidd. “I loved it because I love finding solutions that work for students and families.”

“I also love working with health and wellness and mental health supports, because that’s what some kids certainly need,” Bergerhouse added. “The tiered interventions are what truly support students and their variety of needs.”

Born in Arkansas City, Kansas, Bergerhouse moved to California in 1965. He’s the father of Nicholas, age 34, and Carly, age 23, and the proud grandfather of Kailiana Joy, age 6.

“My parents still live in the same house in Antioch that I was raised in,” said Bergerhouse, who currently lives in Discovery Bay with his Chihuahua named Cody. “I am a product of the Antioch Unified School District.”

Education, he says, is all about supporting students.

“It’s about playing an integral role in students’ lives to help them build the confidence and commitment to survive in a challenging society,” said Bergerhouse. “Not a day goes by that I have not been rewarded in some way from a student’s story, a student’s compliment to a teacher, a handshake, etc. I would never want anything more than that.”

“Education has been the best career that I could ever have imagined,” he added. “The lasting friendships, positive relationships and the unwavering commitment to students are things that are so important to me.”

His educational career includes attending Los Medanos College for one year, followed by a baseball scholarship to the University of Nevada, Reno, then onto Southern Utah State University, graduating with a BS in education.

“I taught school for one year in Utah before returning to California,” he said. “I received my administrative degree at California State University, Hayward.”

Growing up, however, Bergerhouse had a more glamorous plan for his life.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a professional baseball player until my father influenced me that a ‘Plan B’ was imperative,” he said. “The best thing I ever did was following that advice.”
In his new role as Director of Student Support Services, Bergerhouse said some of his duties will include responding to school emergency calls, working with administrators to help provide support for students, keeping lines of communication open with all school leaders, and visiting schools to provide support.”

“Other duties will include overseeing Strategic Threat Management’s two officers; providing support for schools; producing monthly suspension and attendance data for all schools; overseeing the District nurse and counselors, as well as working with various support programs,” he said.
When he’s not working, Bergerhouse spends his time outdoors.

“I love to play golf, even though I’m not very good! I enjoy spending time with my parents and siblings, and I love the ocean and being around water,” he said.

He also spends his time volunteering.

“I have been the President of Delta Advocacy Foundation for approximately 15 years, helping individuals and families through short-term financial difficulties throughout East Contra Costa County,” he said. “This would also include situationally impoverished situations. This has been very rewarding, and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a wonderful board of community leaders working toward truly helping to support individuals and families.”

With 35 years working in education, Bergerhouse is no stranger to an eclectic array of jobs along the way.

“I was a custodian during the summer during my first year teaching. I was a lunchroom monitor during college. I also worked on a factory assembly line producing onion and tomato fiber drums,” he said. “I mopped floors at a sausage shop and laundry mat. I worked for $2 an hour in a print shop. I also worked on a loading dock for Sears, the tomato fields picking tomatoes, I worked at SkyWest Airlines directing planes as they were taxiing down the runway. I even worked for AVIS car rental!”

He said health, happiness and enjoying what life brings, are the top three, most important things in his life.

Confidence in oneself, he feels, is also essential.

“My mantra aligns with a quote from Henry Ford,” he said. “‘If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right.’”

There are two words, he says, that he uses to describe himself.

“Personable and approachable,” said Bergerhouse. “People and positive relationships are important to me.”

Republished with permission of AUSD. Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch School Board approves addendum to MOU with Rocketship charter school, hires consultant for possible bond measure

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Split on renewing contracts for social media consultant for Antioch High, Middle schools; considers new flag policy

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, the Antioch Unified School Board voted to approve an addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the district and the Rocketship Delta Prep charter school, ending almost a year of contention between the two organizations. MOU Amendment No. 1 with Rocketship Delta Prep Charter School

The addendum requires Rocketship school’s representative to “promptly meet” with the district’s liaison if the district liaison has any questions about the “Charter School’s operations, finances, or academic program including special education, or compliance with the Charter, the MOU, or the law.” Also, the district liaison will share their questions or concerns in writing and give Rocketship the opportunity to respond.

Carolyn Davies Lynch, VP Operations for Rocketship Public Schools spoke on the issue.

“Thank you for passing the resolution back in May that created a clear path of partnership for Rocketship and AUSD,” she said. “Rocketship has met all requirements. Rocketship is in full compliance with our charter, the MOU and the law.”

“I’ve heard through multiple people, this was a really great process,” Trustee Ellie Householder said. “I think this MOU is more reflective of the actual relationship and I think that this is going to foster a more positive, I hope communications.” She thanked Superintendent Stephanie Anello “for representing us so positively”.

Anello then said, “I would also like to thank Rocketship for their continued collaboration and just working through this. I think this does, like you said, create a more, clear path as for our working relationship during the term of their probation.”

The motion to adopt the MOU was approved on a 5-0 vote.

Hires Consultant for Possible Bond Measure

Householder had a few questions about approving the services agreement in the amount of $20,000 with a consultant “for studies and/or needs assessments that analyze the District’s ability to call for a general obligation bond election.”  C. Lindh Agreement – bond study

“This about the research around the bond measure,” she said. “When I was reading the contract, it said, ‘determine the need to conduct a community survey.’ Part of me was thinking, do we need to evaluate if we need a bond? I’m thinking we do need a bond. I wanted to make sure this particular consultant can actually do a survey.”

“We want to find out from the taxpayers what are their priorities,” Superintendent Stephanie Anello said. “It is an analysis of what’s on the ballot. Who’s most likely to vote.”

“The survey itself is usually $10,000. But this sounds like it’s more services,” Householder added.

The item was approved as part of the 5-0 vote for the consent calendar items.

Splits on Funds for Social Media Contractor for Antioch High and Antioch Middle Schools

The board then held a discussion on two contracts with Trine Gallegos for social media services for Antioch High School for $17,490 and Antioch Middle School for $10,000.

The source of funds is from site-allocated supplemental and concentration grant funds. District staff recommended the board approve the services agreement with Antioch Middle School, described as follows: Services Agreement with Trine Gallegos – AMS 2019-20

“In order to provide parents and students with timely and accessible information, Ms. Gallegos will update the Antioch Middle School website on a regular basis. She will help establish a parent group and assist in communicating student programs and events with community members and leaders. Ms. Gallegos will work closely with the principal to ensure priority information is shared and student programs can develop.”

For the work at Antioch High, “Ms. Gallegos will coordinate a variety of communication and outreach activities for students, parents, staff, and the community on behalf of Antioch High School, including: Services Agreement Trine Gallegos – AHS 2019-20

  • Connecting with community members, businesses, and service groups to enhance, support, and/or donate to a variety of programs;
  • Updating the Antioch High School website to provide the parent-student community with accurate and accessible information (e.g. up-to-date bell schedules, early release information, student accomplishments, media links, meeting details, and other school-related news);
  • Publishing current news items to ensure information generated from staff and the District office is shared;
  • Sharing information via both Antioch High Facebook pages and through local media agencies;
  • Supporting a variety of events and committees, including: Friends of Antioch High School, Scholarship Night, Achievement Night, Senior Project Mentor, Back to School Night, Open House, Principal’s Graduation Team, and as a Special Student programs coordinator;
  • Rebranding outdated materials (e.g. registration information, PTSA handouts, etc.); and
  • Organizing numerous parent-student workshops

“This is the same consultant. This appears to be every year,” Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White said. “I checked with (other districts) and it seems to be Facebook. I don’t know her qualifications. I am not approving this particular vendor for this amount of money. The work is not there.”

“Is this done by each school site?” Trustee Mary Rocha asked.

Anello responded, “This has already been approved by their school site council. So, you would have to let them know in writing and they could appeal. The authority of the governing board…they’re certifying that the school is not supplanting those funds. But, it’s up to the school to decide those funds. The more the school board overrules the local control there has to be significant reasons to do so.”

“I had a couple concerns with these contracts, as well,” Householder stated. “It’s coming out of supplemental and concentration (S and C) grant funds. How does this $27,490 directly impact our socially economically disadvantaged, our foster youth and our English learners?”

“When I look at these two contracts in particular, they’re so broad,” she continued. “I looked at this contract from last year, they’re the same exact services as last year. There were some Facebook analytics given and a list of activities. There’s no update to the services or accomplishments. When we’re looking at cutting music teachers…and librarians and career counselors…I look at this $17,490 and I wonder how much of that could go to keeping that career counselor on.”

“In the spirit of making schools accountable…this particular vendor is on the school site council…did they vote to go forward with this?” Householder said. “There is not as much transparency as we want. I think we should have an intern program…for our students. I think these monies could be better invested somewhere else.”

Sawyer-White then asked, “Why is it the same vendors? I don’t know her background. I’m told ‘don’t say it’s nepotism’. Why is it the same vendors all the time? We don’t have any background. Does she have a degree?”

Rocha responded, “we’re trying to meet our families in different ways. I understand the contracts we have with those schools are the same. It takes a person inside that school site to do outreach. I don’t see how we can go back and say, ‘you can’t do it, because we don’t want you to.’”

“This individual has brought in about $60,000 in donations,” Anello said. “She’s not on the Antioch Middle School’s site council. I don’t know about the Antioch High council. It was a unanimous vote of the council.”

Householder then reiterated her concerns, saying, “When I look at the documentation to verify the work this vendor had done…four hours, two times a week, then three times a week. When we are using S and C funds…we have to be able to reasonably say those funds are directly benefitting low-income, foster youth and English learners. I don’t know if that brought in those dollars…if there’s no documentation.”

“We want to say ‘schools, you’re able to do what you want,’ she continued. “But, let’s just look it over and make sure we’re crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s. This is a $7,400 increase for this vendor for the contract with Antioch High School over last year. I’m not sure we’re getting 100% more services. Looking at this contract over the years, there has been a steady increase in the amount. If Antioch High School wants to put out an RFP for these services and this person is seen as the best person, then go forward with that. But, right now the waters are too muddied and there’s not enough transparency with this particular vendor.”

Rocha then moved approval of both contracts and they passed 3-2 with Sawyer-White and Householder voting against.

Flag Policy

In response to the district approving the flying the LGBTQ flag in June, a proposed policy for flying flags at the district offices and at school sites was discussed during the board meeting. Board Policy 6115 Ceremonies and Observances – with revision options

The board was given three options, and in general settled on Option C, which reads as follows:

“Option C: 1. Commemorative flags may be displayed only as authorized by resolution of the Board of Education and as an expression of the Boards’ official sentiments. 2. Commemorative flags shall be displayed for a period of time that is reasonable or customary for the subject that is to be commemorated, but no longer than ____ days. 3. The District will not display a commemorative flag based on a request from a third party, nor will the District use its flagpoles to sponsor the expression of a third party.”

“I would recommend a commemorative pole, so we have our pole for local and state, and then a separate pole for ceremony flags,” Rocha shared. She was supportive of option C.

“I think that C makes more sense to me,” Householder said.

Sawyer-White then added, “I’m agreeing with option C. I think Trustee Rocha has a valid point of a separate pole.”

“That would be an option, if you give us additional information,” Board President Gary Hack said.

Gibson-Gray suggested the creation of a district flag, and having students help design it.

The item will return with Rocha’s suggestion of a separate pole to fly commemorative flags.

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Rocketship Delta Prep students achieve rapid academic growth in school’s first year

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

Rocketship Delta Prep school in Antioch. Herald file photo.

New school in Antioch helping students close achievement gaps

Antioch, Calif. – Rocketship Delta Prep announced today that in their very first school year (2018-2019), students grew an average of 1.4 years in math and 1.3 years in English language arts. This means that at Rocketship in Antioch, students are learning an entire school year’s worth of material plus 40 percent (in math) and 30 percent (in English language arts) of another school year, as measured by the nationally-normed NWEA MAP exam. In the very first school year, Rocketship Delta Prep also more than tripled the percentage of students in the top third of achievement in math and more than doubled the percentage in the top third of achievement in English language arts. The vast majority of Rocketeers at

Delta Prep came into the 18-19 school year multiple grade levels behind standard. By growing significantly more than one grade level in a single school year, Delta Prep Rocketeers are well on their way to achieving at and above grade level standards.

“I am so proud of all of our Rocketeers – from TK up through fourth grade,” said Principal Lauren

Hilliard. “Our teachers, parents, students, and entire Rocketship Delta Prep community built a solid foundation in the 2018-2019 school year for even greater academic success this year and beyond. I can’t wait to see all the amazing things our Rocketeers will do in the 2019-2020 school year.”

Rocketship Delta Prep is a free, public charter school open to all students. Approved by the Antioch

Unified School District Board of Education in December 2016, Rocketship worked with parents and community members to build a state-of-the-art, net-zero energy charter school facility. Community support also helped Rocketship gain approval for the school design by unanimous decisions at both the Antioch City Planning Commission and Antioch City Council in fall 2017.

Delta Prep opened at 1700 Cavallo Road in Antioch in August 2018 with more than 400 students.

Overwhelming parent demand for a high-quality elementary school led Rocketship Delta Prep to open transitional kindergarten to fourth grades on day one. While challenging, opening such a big school in its very first year reinforced Delta Prep’s commitment to serve all Antioch students with excellence in order to eliminate the achievement gap. This school year, Rocketship Delta Prep will again serve over 400 students in grades TK-fifth.

“I could not be happier to have found an excellent school right here in my community of Antioch,” said Founding Rocketship Delta Prep Parent Cynthia Cathey. “My daughter has grown so much in just the first school year – not only academically, but also in her behavior, living out Rocketship’s core values of respect and responsibility, and she’s made amazing friends. I’ve also found a tight-knit community of parents who advocate for our kids’ needs and for the future of our city.”

Rocketship’s California network of schools ranked in the top 10 percent of all school districts and charter schools serving similar students on the 2017-2018 California state assessment in both math and English language arts. Rocketship Delta Prep in Antioch is the second Rocketship school in the East Bay, joining Rocketship Futuro Academy in Concord which opened in August 2016. Rocketeers across the national network achieved remarkable gap-closing results last school year, averaging 1.36 years of growth in math and 1.29 years of growth in English language arts.

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Community college Chancellor Fred Wood sets retirement date for next March

Friday, July 19th, 2019

Dr. Fred Wood

By Tim Leong, Director, Communications and Community Relations, CCCCD

Contra Costa Community College District (District) chancellor Fred Wood announced he plans to retire on March 31, 2020.  Since joining the District in 2017, Wood is credited with bringing stability to the District during a time of enrollment challenges and significant changes in the funding formula for California community colleges.

“After considerable and thoughtful deliberations, I have decided to retire after a

four-decade career in higher education due to increased personal obligations and because I firmly believe the District is ready for new leadership”, said Wood.  “Although there is never a perfect time for a leadership transition, the District is in a great place with a very strong financial position, stabilized enrollment, and doing a tremendous job of serving our students and community.”

The chancellor also cited other reasons the District is ready for new leadership by acknowledging the colleges are fully engaged and preparing for upcoming accreditation visits, the migration to a new format for district policies is underway, the capital construction bond program is moving along well, stronger relationships are being developed with educational and community partners, and the Governing Board has just approved a new District five-year strategic plan.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have Fred’s leadership over the past few years”, said Governing Board President Vicki Gordon.  “His honesty, integrity, thoughtful leadership, and passion for students were exactly what the District needed during this time.  We will miss his leadership and he will be a hard act to follow.”

The Governing Board will begin discussing how they will recruit the next chancellor at their upcoming meetings.  The plan is to complete the selection before Wood’s retirement to ensure a smooth transition.

Wood grew up in Martinez, attended Diablo Valley College as a first-generation college graduate, and credits the community college experience for transforming his life.  He is grateful for the opportunity to come “back home” and contribute to the District’s legacy of making a difference in the lives of its students.

“What I am most proud of during my tenure is the opportunity to join our Governing Board, faculty, staff, and community leaders in their work to support our students,” said Wood.  “They deserve the recognition for the success of our District and our three excellent colleges.”

The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.

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Get a free backpack full of school supplies during annual Stuff the Bus Aug. 3

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

First 200 students receive a Warriors Backpack from the Golden State Warriors!

 

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Antioch, Pittsburg residents earn degrees from WGU

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (Grassroots Newswire) – The following East County residents have earned a degree from Western Governors University (WGU). The online, nonprofit university held its 70th (Orlando, Florida); 71st (Cincinnati, Ohio); and 72nd (Anaheim, California) commencement ceremonies this year to celebrate the graduation of more than 22,000 students from across the country.

*Jennifer Vega of Antioch has earned her Bachelor of Science, Nursing

*Angela Robertson of Pittsburg has earned her Bachelor of Science, Business Management

WGU has recognized 13,244 undergraduate and 8,930 graduate degree recipients, who have completed their degrees in the last six months. Their areas of study include business, K-12 education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. The average time to graduation for those earning a bachelor’s degree was two years, four months, while the average time to degree for graduate programs was one year, seven months.

WGU pioneered competency-based education, which measures learning rather than time spent in class. Designed to meet the needs of working adults, students study and learn on their own schedules with individualized, one-to-one faculty support. They complete courses as soon as they demonstrate that they have mastered the subject matter; allowing them to move quickly through material they already know so they can allocate time for what they still need to learn. As a result, many WGU students are able to accelerate their studies, saving both time and money.

About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 115,000 students nationwide and has more than 147,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 22 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and was featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.

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Antioch School Board approves map for district elections in 2020, will have to be redrawn for 2022

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees District Elections Map. By Cooperative Strategies.

Three seats will be up for election in 2020, two in 2022; Rocha, Householder currently live in same district

By Allen Payton

At a special meeting on Monday, July 1, the Antioch School Board approved a map for their first ever district elections on a 4-0 vote. Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White was absent at the time of the vote. The new districts will take effect during the November 2020 election. AUSD Trustee Map 4B & Statistics

The entire meeting lasted a little more than four minutes, with no members of the public speaking. The board’s vote took place during the first two-and-a-half minutes of the meeting, and Sawyer-White arrived about three minutes late. (View the meeting, on the District’s YouTube Channel, here).

According to the staff report, Board members are currently elected in “at-large” elections, where each member is elected by voters throughout the District. At its May 23, 2018, meeting, the Board adopted a resolution No. 2017-18-28 indicating its intent to transition to “by-trustee-area” elections, in compliance with the state’s Voting Rights Act, and in response to a threatened lawsuit. The same attorney who threatened to sue the District, is the same one who threatened the City of Antioch, which also changed to district elections beginning in 2020.

In May, the district published four proposed trustee area maps on the District’s website for consideration by the Board and the community. Community meetings were held on May 28, 2019, and June 1, 2019. As a result, revised scenario maps 1A and 4A were created and posted. An additional map, scenario map 5, was submitted for consideration on June 6, 2019, and posted on June 7, 2019.

At the June 12, 2019, Board of Education meeting, Trustee Ellie Householder requested revisions to scenario map 4A. Scenario map 4B was then created and posted.

A hearing was held at the June 26, 2019, Board meeting and the Board members requested an additional hearing, which occurred Monday night.

The vote also means not all trustees will be up for election at the same time, but all five seats will be up for four-year terms. Three seats will be up in 2020, those of Board President Gary Hack, Vice President Diane Gibson-Gray and Sawyer-White. None of them live in the same district as another trustee. Hack lives in District 4, Gibson-Gray in District 1 and Sawyer-White in District 3.

For the two seats up for election in 2022, the other two trustees, Mary Rocha and Householder live in District 5. So, if both choose to run for reelection, they will either have to run against each other or one would have to move to the other district. None of the incumbents currently live in District 2, which is also up for election in 2022.

The districts are based on the 2010 Census and will have to be redrawn in 2021, prior to the 2022 election and be based on the District population determined by the 2020 Census. Rocha and Householder may end up not living in the same district. But, if they end up living in the district of another trustee who was elected in 2020, they would either have to move to the other district or not be able to run.

The five districts as currently drawn have population sizes ranging from 20,810 to 22,507, and each includes at least two elementary schools.

Filing for candidates in the November 2020 election opens next July.

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