The Long Beach Unified School District began the process of redistricting its Board of Education areas, an accelerated process that will have to be completed by December.

The district has five areas that are represented by elected officials: Areas 1, 2, and 3 in the North, West and Downtown areas are up for election on June 7, 2022, with a possible runoff in November.

The accelerated nature of the process was caused by delayed release of the once-a-decade U.S. Census data, according to LBUSD Chief Business and Financial Officer Yumi Takahashi.

“We’ve all heard in the news there has been significant issues related to the release of the census data: it’s late,” said Takahashi. “In a normal year we would have received it in April—preliminary data was just released Aug. 12, validated data will be released in September.”

The board’s target is to approve its new map at its Dec. 1 meeting.

“It’s going to be a compact timeframe but it includes multiple opportunities for board discussion as well as community feedback,” said Takahashi.

Justin Rich, vice president of MuniBase, a firm that is helping the district, said in a recent presentation that total district area population grew by 5,500 people, with growth in areas 1, 4, and 5 and declines in areas 2 and 3. Those changes will require that the borders are redrawn.

The district has launched a website where families can fill out a survey in English, Spanish, or Khmer. The site will be updated with community meetings when they’re scheduled.

“I’m concerned that the timeline will constraint the amount of public comment,” said LBUSD Board president Juan Benitez.

There will be three board meetings between now and the Dec. 1 vote, and Takahashi said the district’s plan is to present a potential map in October, with community meetings in November to review those draft maps ahead of their approval.