State Board approves dozens of trustee re-zoning proposals

The State Board of Education on Thursday unanimously approved 108 school district trustee zone maps. 

Idaho statute requires districts to submit proposals to balance populations by redrawing local boundaries within the zones after every decennial census — in this case, the 2020 U.S. Census.

Districts establish trustee zones to determine geographic areas represented by their locally elected board members.

Five other districts requested no changes to their zones because their populations had not changed enough since 2010. These include: Blackfoot, Gooding, Jerome, Lake Pend Oreille and Wallace.

The State Board rejected incomplete plans from the North Gem and West Jefferson districts, which have 45 days to resubmit proposals.

Six of Thursday’s approvals came via “exceptions”:

  • Three “chartered” districts — Boise, Emmett and Lewiston — received approval because they predate statehood and operate in part under individual charters. The districts have a single trustee zone where board members are elected to serve at-large.
  • The Arbon and Avery districts received approval to split census tracts in areas with no population.
  • The Cottonwood district received approval because it asked to exclude the North Idaho Correctional Institution’s inmates, who live within its boundaries but who don’t vote and leave the institution after they’re released.

A couple notable updates following Thursday’s vote:

  • The West Ada School District, Idaho’s largest, has a new trustee map that divides more than 250,000 residents into five zones of roughly 50,000 each.
  • East Idaho’s Bonneville School District split its nearly 59,000-person constituency into five zones of around 12,000 people or less.
  • The Coeur d’Alene School District, which has more than 86,000 residents, also utilizes five zones.

During the last rezoning process in 2011, the State Board initially approved 41 maps and rejected 13 district proposals, board materials show. Two months later, the board approved the remaining proposals.

Find more info on your school district’s new boundaries in the board materials at this link.

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