Two school entities again met jointly this week. Plumas Unified School District and Feather River College trustees held their second pre map public hearing on Jan. 5, in advance of redrawing trustee area boundaries as a result of the 2020 census.
McKay Larrabee with FLO Analytics, the consultant hired to help with the effort, once again outlined the criteria that must be adhered to in redrawing the districts. This is the same firm that helped the Plumas County Board of Supervisors redraw their district boundaries.
Just as with the new supervisorial districts, the trustee areas have guidelines to follow:
Must have reasonably equal population
Must not be gerrymandered
Must not deny votes on account of race/color
Should be compact
Should be contiguous
Should observe communities of interest
Should use identifiable boundaries such as streets, topography
The public must have an opportunity to comment on the process, but thus far the public has demonstrated little interest. There was no public comment during the Jan. 5 public hearing, nor during the first, but both entities are committed to providing multiple opportunities. The Board of Supervisors received minimal during its process.
The current district lines were drawn following the 2010 census, when the district population was 19,367. Following the 2020 census, the district population is 19,095, and it’s been redistributed somewhat. (As an aside, the Board of Supervisors doesn’t align directly with the school entities, because the county extends throughout the Sierra Valley, an area covered by the Plumas-Sierra Joint Unified School District not Plumas Unified.) Still the information that FLO Analytics accumulated during the supervisorial process can be helpful to the schools.
Ideally, each trustee area would have the same population, but that is not possible when trying to adhere to all of the other criteria, such as areas/districts must be contiguous. The population of each can’t differ by more than 10 percent, but ideally the differential would be less than 5 percent.
The trustee areas for the schools will have the same issue that the supervisors had with their districts – primarily how to split Quincy/East Quincy — the county’s largest population center. To make it work, the supervisors divided East Quincy among three supervisorial districts.
Leslie Edlund, a trustee for Plumas Unified School District, said, “I don’t want to follow the Board of Supervisors in East Quincy which is split in three.”
That input is helpful to the consultant who is now charged with developing some maps for the trustees to consider for adoption.
Feather River College President Kevin Trutna presented his own list of criteria that he thought should be considered:
- Target numbers of voters within 5 percent range from mean
- Do not split any contiguous small community (i.e. Graeagle, Portola, Greeville, Crescent Mills, Meadow Valley, etc.)
- Do not create an island in the larger population areas (i.e. Quincy) as one trustee area surrounded by a single other trustee area
- When possible, follow Board of Supervisors boundaries to minimize confusion
- Use roads as dividing lines between areas
- Split high school boundaries only when necessary
Plumas Unified School District has the following public forums scheduled via Zoom for the public to comment.
- Tuesday, Jan. 11 from 6 – 6:30 pm
- Thursday, Jan. 13 from 6 – 6:30 pm
- Tuesday, Jan. 18 from 6 – 6:30 pm
- Tuesday, Jan. 25 from 6 – 6:30 pm
Feather River College will announce additional opportunities, and once the first maps are made available and present the next joint public hearing, there will be more for the public to see and comment on.