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Long Beach : School Board Elects Its First Black President

Community Digest

July 25, 1991

The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education has elected Bobbie Smith as its new president. Smith is the first black president in the board's 106-year history.

"To be the first black member of this board, and now to be chosen to lead California's third-largest school district, is truly an honor," Smith said after her election July 15.

She joined the board in 1988, as the representative of District 2, which covers the southwestern portion of Long Beach.

Smith's district, like the board's other four districts, will be reapportioned as a result of the 1990 Census. The board also voted last week to redraw district boundaries in order to comply with Long Beach City Charter regulations requiring each district to have approximately the same population.

The 1990 Census figures showed a population surge in districts 2 and 3, giving them each about 13,000 more people than the average district population of about 93,000.

The shuffle of boundaries moved Signal Hill from District 3 to District 4. Millikan High School was transferred from District 4 to District 5. Catalina Island remained in District 4.

District 3 representative Jenny Oropeza saw her district shrink geographically to cover the crowded downtown area exclusively. She called the remapping "a positive change," saying she would be able to "concentrate on the unique needs of downtown."

The Long Beach City Council, which has to approve the boundary changes, will consider the district's plan at Monday's meeting.

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