The CVUSD Board votes on a final map

On Feb. 19 the  Conejo Valley Unified School District school board held their fourth meeting of the year where they made a final decision on a By-Trustee area map, and discussed a possible revision of the “opt-out book”  policy.

CVUSD has been in the works of transitioning to a By-Trustee area election system since receiving a letter on June 8, 2018 claiming that the District’s current method of electing board members through at-large elections violates the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA).

There were three drafts created by the District’s demographer and legal counsel which placed the five board members in separate electoral zones.The maps also included a data table showing the total population, the population of people over the age of 18 and the number of registered voters. This data comes from a census done in 2010.

The board members voted 4-1 and chose Map 3A, a revised version of original Map 3 that takes into account community suggestions. Many community members favored this one, despite feeling that none of the maps were perfect. “After learning about the maps and considering each carefully, I feel that Map 3A is the most effective for the community, and will provide a voice for latinos within the community and school board,” Naomi Centeno, senior at Thousand Oaks High School, said.

“After reviewing all the maps we support Map 3A… and we think that the implications of the map will bring positive change not just latinos but for everyone,” said Lilian Mendoza, president of Adelante de Comunidad for Conejo Valley.

Board member, Sandee Everett, was not in favor of map 3A due to her belief  that it was altered by community members and by a politically associated organization, “Conejo Together.”

“My concern with (Map 3A) and any of the maps presented by Conejo Together is that if the district is faced with a lawsuit it shows that we paid  a demographer $18,000 and we chose a map created by community members. They have a Political Action Committee that donated money to three of our trustees. I just don’t know if that’s going to make us look good,” said Everett

During this meeting the members also discussed a possible revision of policy 6161.1, commonly known as the opt-out policy. With about 20 public comment cards, it was quite clear that the community had a lot input to the discussion.

“It seems to me there are just two opinions. One opinion, which in my research I have found there are a number of items that obviously came from CNN T.V. news, they are fake….Parents have a right to teach their children values…a lot of that comes from literature,” Bill Spangler, community member, said.

“I want to thank the board for reopening this policy. It’s essential that a new alternative assignment is written by curriculum experts, with no trustee influence. The cenerious elements in 6161.1 must be stripped out of the policy, ” John Cummings, community member said.

In the end, the board discussion resulted in a decision to revise the policy, using a teacher committee and possibly other school’s ideas.

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