Orange County Board of Education Votes to Overturn District Map

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.
February 1, 2022Updated: February 2, 2022

COSTA MESA, Calif.—The Orange County Board of Education voted Feb. 1 to overturn its district map—which was submitted by a separate committee—immediately following the county Board of Supervisors granting the board’s trustees autonomy over the maps.

The Board of Education’s vote upholds a map they previously approved on Dec. 8, which was thrown out by the Orange County Committee on School District Organization—the committee in charge of approving and submitting the final district maps.

“We’re going to take that map to the Orange County Registrar’s Office today,” Board President Mari Barke told The Epoch Times.

Barke, along with Vice President Ken Williams and trustees Lisa Sparks and Tim Shaw, voted in favor of the board’s previously approved map, which allows the trustees to remain in their current districts.

Trustee Beckie Gomez rejected the resolution, stating the board was “lacking transparency.”

Barke said the map approved by the board is in the best interest of the voters, while the map submitted by the committee violated the Voters Right Act by splitting up community interests.

The committee submitted its own map—not the board’s map—to the county registrar’s office before the Feb. 2 deadline after approving the map on Jan. 27.

The Feb. 1 action by the Board of Education attempts to overturn the approved and submitted map created by the county committee, which would kick trustees out of their current districts and make them compete with one another during reelection periods, according to Barke.

Barke said the committee’s action to create competitive district boundaries is an attempt to prevent some of the current trustees from holding power for another term.

“They don’t like that we’re approving charter schools, honoring parental rights, and educating about critical race theory,” Barke said. “They want to dismantle us.”

The map will reflect new district boundaries for the June 2022 election. 

Later that evening, Neal Kelley, the registrar of voters, told Board of Education Trustees on Feb. 1 that the map couldn’t be accepted without a court order, according to Barke.

The Orange County Committee on School District Organization didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.