Stony Creek Joint Union School District: Camp inmates to be left out of trustee areas
The new trustee areas for the Stony Creek Joint Union School District will not include inmates in the Valley View Conservation Camp.
A redistricting committee headed by Stony Creek school board member Chonne Murphy met on Monday to finalize the language that will enable the district to finish drawing its new district boundaries.
The school district is comprised of residents of Colusa and Glenn counties. Valley View is the correctional facility located with the school district boundaries on County Road 307, just outside of Elk Creek.
The U.S. Census Bureau counted the 124 inmates in the facility as residents of Glenn County in the 2010 Census, even though the inmates can't vote and most come from and will return to other communities after incarceration.
"If we don't take the inmates out, they will basically have their own trustee area," Murphy said.
Although California and three other states have approved legislation that will in the future count inmates for redistricting in their pre-arrest residence, the next redistricting cycle is not until 2020.
Stony Creek, however, wants to have its new trustee areas drawn by the 2014 General Election because the district is out of compliance with the California Voting Rights Act — legislation that is suppose to guarantee minority voters a chance to have their voices heard and their votes counted.
Officials believe the district could be challenged in court because the current at-large voting system disenfranchises a large minority population, Murphy said.
Grindstone's Native American community represents more than 10 percent of the school district's entire population, yet seldom has had a representative elected to the school board.
Glenn County Planning and Public Works previously drew maps for the new trustee areas based on U.S. Census data, but will draw corrected maps once the language eliminating the inmates is approved by the school board.
Murphy said she will introduce language adapted from King County, which does not include prison inmates in local elections.
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