Redistricting: Central Unified Adopts Final Map Dividing Key Community
Central Unified’s new district map for the next decade splits Highway City into three parts
Fresno, CA – Central Unified School District has ended its redistricting cycle by adopting a map that splits a key community of interest within its jurisdiction, Highway City, into three different parts. This is a critical community that residents have stated must be kept whole throughout all Fresno redistricting processes but was ultimately split within Central Unified bounds. Of the six final map options for the Board to choose from, two finalists kept Highway City whole, one of those options being the ‘Invest in Kids’ map created by Communities for a New California Education Fund (CNC EF) along with Central Unified families.
Pedro Navarro Cruz, CNC EF organizer and co-author of the ‘Invest in Kids’ map, said of the selection, “It’s extremely disappointing to see the Central Unified School Board choose not to recognize Highway City as a community of interest. The adopted map splits Highway City into three Trustee areas.” Commenting on the process, Navarro Cruz added, “The board failed to have a meaningful dialogue as to why they selected this map and now Central Unified families have to live with that decision for the next 10 years. Cutting through the center of communities, as Map 104.1 does, is the antithesis to what redistricting is meant to be.”
The Supreme Court recognizes keeping communities of interest whole as a key part of the map-drawing process and the FAIR MAPS Act has established this as a priority in California. While the public voiced their support for the two community-submitted maps, multiple comments from residents across different meetings highlighted the importance of keeping Highway City whole — ultimately what the trustees decided against.
To ensure the fairest and most equitable redistricting process for Central Unified families in the coming years, Central Unified School District must have an independent redistricting commission in place for the 2030 redistricting cycle. Seeing as how community testimony was largely overlooked, it is clear that this is the only way forward. An independent redistricting commission is the best choice to ensure that residents are heard and their communities are kept whole, creating space for more accurate representation in Central Unified.
Communities for a New California Education Fund is building a new power in the San Joaquin, Central and Imperial valleys by inspiring working-class Californians to engage, activate and fight for social change in their communities. With the help of staff and volunteers from the very communities we serve, CNC EF organizes and educates residents about policy issues that impact our rural families and organize to improve our neighborhoods.