It took them 10 maps, but ’s trustees finally decided on how to carve up the expansive school district’s trustee areas.
Map “J” will come back at the next meeting for a final vote, but trustees voted 4-3 Wednesday night to approve a map that divides San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Niguel in three, Mission Viejo, Dana Point and San Clemente in two and keeps intact the cities of Aliso Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita. Trustees Ellen Addonizio, Lynn Hatton and Sue Palazzo were opposed.
The new trustee boundary lines also keep Ladera Ranch whole and groups it with the other two larger unincorporated areas, Las Flores and Codo de Caza.
Trustees have been discussing . They said they wanted to keep cities whole if possible – for example, San Juan is currently divided among four trustees – and respect high school attendance boundaries while being mindful of “communities of interest,” groups of people that identify with each other for any number of reasons.
In the end, the map they chose doesn’t entirely accomplish those goals.
For Anna Bryson, it was about making sure Laguna Niguel’s trustee area included Dana Hills High, which is in Dana Point. Map “J” was the only plan that met her ideal. Any other arrangement would be “bitterly unfair,” she said.
But Trustees Lynn Hatton and Ellen Addonizio said they could make the very same arguments about Mission Viejo, which is now split in two. Half of Mission Viejo is in a trustee area that doesn’t include the high school where most of the students attend.
After the board’s Jan. 9 meeting, trustees directed the district’s consultant, National Demographics of Glendale, to come up with a map that kept Mission Viejo whole. Only one map, Map “H,” managed that feat. That's the map Hatton, Addonizio and Palazzo favored.
“it’s really kind of choosing the lesser of two evils,” Hatton said.
“No plan here is going to be perfect,” Trustee John Alpay said.
The trustee areas, adjusted every 10 years following the , take on additional significance this go-around. Starting in this November’s election, voters will only be able to cast their vote for one trustee, the one to represent their area. Voters did away with at-large voting when they passed in the November 2010 election.