the District of the Lyceum of the Mixed Union of Santa Maria The board shifted its redistribution priorities to keeping Guadalupe and northwest Santa Maria in one district, after reviewing three new draft maps created by local organizations and students in a hearing public Tuesday.
District officials reviewed a first round of map projects created by district cutting consulting firm National Demographic Corp. at a board meeting on December 1. The three map options have been referred to as green, yellow, and orange plans.
The new maps were created as part of a joint effort between Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project and the student organization Future Leaders of America, and incorporated three priorities identified during ‘a student forum this fall.
“These cards reflect the voices of our young people who have deliberately reflected on this process. It has been a very practical and educational experience,” said Rebeca Garcia, policy advocate for CAUSE.
Priorities include maintaining Guadalupe and Northwest Santa Maria as a community of interest in the same district, giving a stronger voice to families in Northwest Santa Maria, and ensuring that at least three districts have majority representation of voting age latinx in accordance with federal voting rights law. , according to Garcia.
The three maps submitted present Orcutt and the entire eastern part of the district in one area and Guadalupe and the northwest of Santa Maria in another, with varying representations of the three areas covering the central, southern and eastern parts of Santa Maria.
The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District has approximately 8,000 students in four schools, and 156,776 registered residents live within the district boundaries. With five district areas, each should contain around 30,000 people.
“The first thing is to ensure a strong voice in the northwest of Santa Maria, whose needs have been under-represented on the board for too long,” Garcia said. “The district elections will finally give people a chance to voice their shared priorities and concerns as a community of interest, as the majority of families in the Northwest are working class and Latinx immigrant families . “
Several board members were receptive to the idea of aligning Guadalupe and the northwest of Santa Maria – something that was missing in the three maps created by the consultants – but expressed their continued preference for the presented green plan. in the last meeting, which prioritized district areas based on where council members currently reside.
Since the district electoral system requires representatives to reside in the areas they represent, creating areas corresponding to where members currently live would allow all of them to stand for election – a strategy that all board members do not deem appropriate.
“I’d like to see if it’s possible to move Guadalupe to the northwest part of Santa Maria and realign some of the other neighborhoods, [while] always keeping the five administrator zones that you had on the green card, ”said Dominick Palera, member of the board of directors.
The council ultimately asked NDC consultant Daniel Phillips to change the green plan by consolidating Guadalupe and northwestern Santa Maria into one district. Phillips said that goal was achievable and that the map would be posted online seven days before the next hearing on January 18.
The directorships of Palera, Diana Perez and Carol Karamitsos will be up for election in 2022.
While Tuesday was supposed to be the last redistribution hearing before the map’s final adoption on January 11, council extended the timeline and created another hearing on January 18 in response to community comments calling for more opportunities for student participation.
Residents can find more information about the redistribution process as well as approved map projects on the district’s website at smjuhsd.k12.ca.us.