By Debra Moore
First the county, and now the schools. Feather River College and Plumas Unified School District (as well as the Plumas County Office of education) will be changing their trustee area boundaries in the wake of the 2020 Census. But the schools are making another transition as well — how trustees are elected.
Currently, a trustee must reside in a trustee area, but they are elected at large. There are five trustee areas for the college and school district (just as with the five county supervisorial districts). Both are now changing the election process so that a trustee is elected only by the voters in that trustee area, just as a supervisor is elected only by the voters in their district.
To accomplish this changeover, the college and school district boards of trustees are conducting joint meetings and public hearings, and they are being assisted with the endeavor by the same firm that guided the board of supervisors — FLO Analytics. This is convenient since the firm knows the county’s population centers, geography and topography — though there is a slight difference. A portion of the far eastern part of Plumas County is part of the Plumas-Sierra Joint Unified School District, which skews the population a bit when compared to the county supervisorial districts.
The FRC and PUSD trustees met in a joint meeting Dec. 8 — the second meeting to discuss the transition. This meeting also served as the first public hearing. The trustees listened to a presentation by FLO analytics and then opened the hearing to public comment. There was none. This was similar to the board of supervisors’ experience where there was very little comment on the process.
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
Ideally, the county’s population is divided by five with an equal number of residents divided by each trustee area. That usually isn’t possible due to a number of reasons, so it’s mandated that the range can’t be greater than 10 percent, and entities should strive for a less-than-5-percent differential. Plumas County’s final map has a deviation of 3.3 percent.
The next joint meeting and public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 5.