Antioch School Board will consider two gerrymandered draft maps during public hearing on redistricting tonight

Proposed Antioch School Board Trustee Areas Redistricting Map Scenario 1 indicating the locations of the trustees’ residences. Source: AUSD

Trustee areas drawn to protect most incumbents; will be in place for the next 10 years; no online mapping tool for public to use to provide input; trustees will also reorganize with new president, VP

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Nov. 10th, the Antioch School Board received a presentation on redistricting the five trustee areas following the 2020 Census. The trustees will be review and consider two gerrymandered draft maps during their Dec. 15th meeting, tonight, drawn by Cooperative Strategies, the same consultant hired to help draw the original district maps in 2019. The current trustee areas were created using data from the 2010 Census. (See related article)   AUSD_ProposedMapPresentation 121521

Since then, the population in the school district has grown by 12.4% or 13,252 residents. All five trustee areas experienced population growth with the greatest growth in Area 2 of 20.5%. That’s followed by Area 5 growth at 13.5%, Area 1 at 11.1%, Area 4 at 10.2% and Area 3 at 6.3%.

The ideal trustee area population is 24,058. The proposed maps show the percentage deviation for each area from that average size. The goal in order to fulfill the constitutional intent of one-person-one-vote is to have no deviation between districts. Congressional districts can only vary by one person.

The current map of trustee areas was only in effect for last year’s school board election. The new map and trustee areas will be in effect for the next ten years and must be finalized by March 1, 2022.

Politically-based drawing of representative district or area maps is referred to as gerrymandering which is designed to protect incumbents or a political party’s control of a legislative body.

According to the staff report, “By law, following every Decennial Census, school districts that elect their governing boards ‘by-trustee area’ must review updated population data from the Census to insure that the trustee areas remain balanced by total population. District consultants will provide an overview of the process and requirements for insuring compliance with the population balance requirements of Education Code section 5019.5.”

That section reads, “(a)(1) The population of each area is, as nearly as may be, the same proportion of the total population of the district as the ratio that the number of governing board members elected from the area bears to the total number of members of the governing board.

(2) The population of each area is, as nearly as may be, the same proportion of the total population of the district as each of the other areas.

(b) The boundaries of the trustee areas shall be adjusted by the governing board of each school district or community college district, in accordance with subdivision (a), before the first day of March of the year following the year in which the results of each decennial census are released. If the governing board fails to adjust the boundaries before the first day of March of the year following the year in which the results of each decennial census are released, the county committee on school district organization shall do so before the 30th day of April of the same year.”

However, maximum population variance allowed between trustee areas can be as much as 10% and still be in compliance with the legal requirements. Due to the population growth Antioch School Board trustee areas have a total variance of 17.7% which is out of compliance.

Proposed Antioch School Board Trustee Areas Redistricting Map Scenario 2 indicating the locations of the trustees’ residences. Source: AUSD

Superintendent Claims Changes Are Minor, No Online Mapping Tool, Offers Analysis of Proposed Maps

Asked if there would be an online mapping tool for the public to use to submit proposals, Superintendent Stephanie Anello responded, “Our changes are so minor compared to what it looks like (at first blush) compared to what the city council is proposing. So, we have not planned for an online mapping tool.”

Anello also shared, “I’ve been looking over the maps since we received them and here are my thoughts: We have not received any complaints or concerns regarding the current boundaries since we moved to Trustee Areas in 2019 so Cooperative Strategies looked at making the least impactful changes as possible while maintaining the community of interest (Black/African American voters in Area 3) that was established during the initial map selection process. The only two areas with significant fluctuation are Area 2 (which is creating a variance of 9.1%) and Area 3 (which is creating a variance of -8.5%). The population difference between these two areas is 4,246 residents.

Map 1 shifts approximately 1,500 residents from Area 2 to Area 3 for a variance of 8.3%, which is within the statutory limits. Map 2 decreases the variance to 1.8% by shifting approximately 2,200 residents from Area 2 to Area 3, as well as 650 residents from Area 1 to Area 4.”

Gerrymandered Draft Map Scenarios

Although neither federal election law nor state education code include where incumbents live as a criteria or requirement for drawing trustee area boundaries, both of the maps, labeled Scenario 1 and Scenario 2, appear to be drawn to protect at least four of the trustees. Current Board President Ellie Householder and Trustee Mary Rocha were both living in the current Area 5. But Householder moved to Antioch’s downtown and now lives in Area 1 which is currently represented by Antonio Hernandez, who was elected last year, along with Area 3 Trustee Clyde Lewis and Area 4 Trustee Gary Hack.

There is no incumbent presently living in the current Area 2 nor in that area on either proposed map. Elections for both Areas 2 and 5 will be held next November. But both proposed maps are mislabeled indicating Householder’s residence and referring to her as facing election in 2022 instead of providing that indication in Area 2 on the scenarios. Householder, who is currently serving in a district-wide seat with the term ending next year, just like Rocha, and is facing recall from that position. Householder will be ineligible to run for re-election if one of the proposed map scenarios is approved and she remains living in Area 1. Even if she is recalled, Householder could move into either Areas 2 or 5 and run for re-election, there. If so, then Householder won’t be up for election next year, but the Area 2 seat will be.

In addition, both proposed maps barely keep Lewis inside Area 4 and Rocha inside Area 5, with both trustees’ residences on the edge of the boundary with Area 4.

Additional Board Meetings on Redistricting

The board is scheduled to have at least two more meetings on redistricting before the March 1 deadline. The proposed schedule from Cooperative Strategies is as follows: January 26 – Board Meeting: Review Revised and/or Additional Scenarios; Adopt Final Trustee Areas (Tentative) and February 9 or 23, 2022 – Board Meeting: (Only If Needed) Adopt Final Trustee Areas.

Board Leadership Reorganization

Also, during their meeting, the trustees will choose a new board president and vice president for the following year. Embattled president, Householder is expected to pass the proverbial gavel to current Board Vice President Clyde Lewis, and Hernandez is expected to be voted in to replace Lewis.

Meeting and Public Comment Information

The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. following a brief Closed Session at 6:40 p.m. and held at the Deer Valley High School theater at 4700 Lone Tree Way in Antioch. It can also be viewed live stream on the district’s YouTube page. Public comments can only be made in person at the meeting by completing and submitting a speaker card. To see the entire agenda, click here.

the attachments to this post:

AUSD Proposed Redistricting Map Scenario 2 stats

AUSD Proposed Redistricting Map Scenario 1 stats

AUSD_ProposedMapPresentation 121521

AUSD Proposed Redistricting Map Scenario2

AUSD Proposed Redistricting Map Scenario1

No Comments so far.

Leave a Reply