EL MONTE – The El Monte Union High School District will launch a series of public meetings to gather community input as it begins the process of shifting from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections.

The transition means that residents will vote for a single candidate residing in their newly drawn trustee-area, usually one-fifth of the entire district, instead of voting for any board candidate on the ballot within the El Monte Union District boundaries. The change will go into effect November 2022.

The process will be divided into two parts. First, the District will initiate a community information program beginning in May, which will share details about the transition through postcards, a website and community meetings held in the morning and in the evening Thursday, May 13.

The second, more formal part of the process, will begin in August. The District will hold public hearings, and work with a professional demographer, who will develop several map options with five districts that meet legal requirements and best align with the criteria established by the Board of Trustees.

At that point, the District will hear formal comments on map priorities from the community and receive public input regarding voting area boundaries that will ultimately help define the new by-trustee voting areas.

This change has been initiated by the Board to strictly adhere to the California Voting Rights Act, which calls for a shift from an “at-large” election system – where all trustees are elected by voters of the entire school district – to a system where the Board is divided into five trustee areas and candidates are elected by voters of each specific area.

“Our District is proud to be proactively beginning this important and historic process, ensuring that we adhere to the California Voting Rights Act and maintaining a fair election system that upholds representation, diversity and inclusivity,” Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “Every decision the EMUHSD Board of Trustees makes is always with the best interest of the students at the forefront. Transition to a By-Trustee Area Election formation will not change the way our District prioritizes its students and will help us to ensure that every part of our community is represented.”

The District will discuss districting criteria during public hearings, the first of which will begin Wednesday, Aug. 18 during a special board meeting. More information regarding this transition and the upcoming information sessions can be found on the District’s website: https://emuhsd-by-area-trustees.com