For the first time in ten years, school zones will be changing. The zones represented by Central Oregon Community College board members will be changing. The zone boundaries for the COCC district are usually analyzed every few years, with the most recent rezoning in 2003.
“The law basically says we need to keep the zones as equal in population as possible,” said Ron Paradis, Director of College Relations at COCC. “It doesn’t say how often to check on that or how to do it, just that they have to be as equal as possible.”
The changes are a reflection of a population shift in the city of Bend, according to Paradis, who lead the rezoning project this year.
The most significant will happen in the city of Bend and the precincts surrounding it.
“Previously zones four, five, and six all represented the city of Bend and some of the precincts surrounding that area,” said Paradis. “In the past, this area would have three representatives that were elected from the zone at large.”
After this rezoning, zone six will cover the north and northwest area of Bend as well as Sisters and Black Butte. Zones four and five will now together represent the Bend area not covered in zone six.
Bruce Abernethy, the board member for zone six, is not worried by the changes.
“I am looking forward to understanding and better meeting the needs of the Sisters community through the rezoning,” said Abernethy. “My zone will be the one most impacted by the changes, but it isn’t really concerning.”
Abernethy believes the new zones will help to better balance the population within the zones and allow for an even representation among the seven districts.
“The rezoning helps to make the zones more accessible as well as evenly distributing the population,” said Abernethy.
These changes will not cause any board members to run against each other in reelection, according to Paradis.
“Sometimes rezoning will do that; it just worked out this time that it didn’t,” said Paradis. “This is because in truth there was only one major change.”
The new zones will not affect students and most people will still have the same board member representing their district, said Abernethy.
“This doesn’t affect students at all. There have always been seven board members so it might change the types of people who are on the board but it won’t change my perspective and how I serve the district,” said Abernethy.