School Board Looks at District Remapping

First published in the Nov. 6 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

At its next meeting, the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education hopes to commit to a handful of tweaks to its political district maps ahead of its December deadline.
In the meantime, the district’s consultant for the redistricting is expected to prepare charts to compare various demographic information such as literacy, income status and other socioeconomic factors.
The results of the 2020 U.S. Census necessitates minor redistricting changes to GUSD’s map as a result of the population shifts. GUSD’s district, which includes the city of Glendale and the unincorporated La Crescenta-Montrose area, includes just shy of 220,000 residents, meaning each of the five districts would include roughly 44,000 residents.
Presently, the board is considering two maps, both of which primarily constitute districts B and D taking on portions of other districts to account for their population declines. Both proposed maps would reduce population deviations that range from 3% to 7% to being less than 1% in each district. The exception is one map that would have deviations of minus 1.43% and 1.44% in districts D and E, both well within the acceptable range.
Opinions on the maps ranged at the board meeting on Tuesday.
Armina Gharpetian, for example, preferred the first option because it follows natural neighborhood boundaries.
“It really takes major freeways and the wash [into consideration] and you’re not cutting through alleys and streets too much [which] really creates confusion voters in congested areas,” she said.
Conversely, Jennifer Freemon felt that the narrower margins in the second option set up the board for a map that could be drawn for the long term.
“I think by having it as balanced as possible now, it will allow us to stay within range for a while,” she said. “I do appreciate the idea of having it as close as possible now because, as populations shift, that gives us a little more wiggle room so maybe the next time around, we’re looking at a smaller change.”
Board President Shant Sahakian hopes for the board to consider final proposals and, with public input, to decide on a redistricting plan at the Nov. 16 meeting. He is opposed to making the final commitment during a special meeting.