Newport-Mesa hears last public input on redrawing trustee zones; decision next week

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District board hosted its third and final public hearing Monday to gather input on changing the district’s trustee zone boundaries before the board decides next week.

One of two proposed maps, titled Map B, was created this year under the guidance of a committee with members chosen by Supt. Fred Navarro from areas throughout Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.

The second option, Map G, was created based on community input and board direction after the release of Map B.

Both maps would adjust the boundaries of the areas where members of the seven-trustee board would need to live but would not affect school attendance boundaries.

Critics of Map G contended Monday that it was created without enough public input and would unduly split the Victoria Elementary School community, in Costa Mesa’s Westside, into two trustee zones.

Westside resident Ashley Anderson called Map B a “more fair, more equal and more just choice.”

Corona del Mar High School student Lauren Quinn called Map B a solution to “trustee gerrymandering.”

Dennis Ashendorf, a Newport-Mesa teacher, said he favored Map G, which would establish a more compact trustee zone for the Westside, compared with Map B. Having a smaller, more densely populated zone would make community organizing easier, he said.

Adoption of Map B could affect board President Karen Yelsey and trustee Judy Franco.

Franco, who lives on Lido Isle in Newport Beach, represents trustee Area 5, which includes areas around Newport Harbor and a single campus, Newport Elementary School on the Balboa Peninsula.

Yelsey lives in the Irvine Terrace neighborhood near Corona del Mar and has most of Newport Beach’s schools in her Area 4.

Under Map B, Yelsey and Franco’s current addresses would be in the same trustee zone, Area 5, resulting in the possibility of them running against each other in a future election.

Before Monday’s meeting, Yelsey and Franco told the Daily Pilot that Map G was not created to help them avoid a possible faceoff under Map B. They said any new boundaries will last beyond their time on the school board.

“That’s not even something that was of concern or something I think about, because I’m not going to be here forever,” Yelsey said.

Yelsey and Franco said a favorable aspect of Map G is that it would help bring two more campuses — Newport Harbor High School and Ensign Intermediate School — into a redrawn Area 5.

Map B’s redrawn Area 5 would still contain only Newport Elementary.

The board is scheduled to discuss the two maps and choose one Oct. 17.

Twitter: @BradleyZint

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