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SB 442 – Authorizes A County Committee On School District Organization To Approve A Proposal To Establish Trustee Area Elections For The Governing Board Of A School District Or Community College District, Without A Vote Of The District’s Electorate, Including A District Whose Governing Board Is Provided For In A City Or City/County Charter
School districts and community college districts have been moving away from at-large elections, in part, to preempt or resolve claims under the California Voting Rights Act that at-large elections have a diluting impact on the voting rights of minority communities.
Existing law has established general procedures for a school district or community college district to transition from at-large elections to trustee-area elections. Existing law provides that in order for a school district or community college district to establish, abolish, or rearrange boundaries for trustee areas, or increase to seven or decrease to five, the number of trustees, the county committee on school district organization must approve a proposal to establish trustee areas to constitute an order of election. The proposal is then presented to the electors of the district. This process is referred to below as the “County Committee Process.”
The existing law also excluded school districts governed by a board of education provided for in the charter of a city or city and county from the County Committee Process.
SB 442 does the following:
- Deletes the prior exclusion for school districts governed by a board of education provided for in the charter of a city or city and county, and makes those districts subject to the County Committee Process even if the charter specified a different method of election.
- Changes the County Committee Process to allow a county committee to approve a proposal to establish trustee areas and elect trustees using district-based elections (aka “by trustee-area” elections) without having to submit the resolution to the electors of the district (New Process).
- The New Process involves the county committee adopting a resolution that includes a declaration stating:
- That the change in the method of electing members of the government body is made in furtherance of the purposes of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (Chapter 1.5 commencing with Section 14025) of Division 14 of the Elections Code).
- That the resolution is effective upon adoption and shall govern all elections for trustees occurring at least 125 days after the adoption of the resolution.
- The county committee must not rearrange trustee area boundaries in a school district or community college district that has established a hybrid or independent redistricting commission.
Existing law also allows a community college district to change election systems upon adoption of a resolution supporting the change by the board of trustees and approval by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. However, any increase in the number of trustees requires those trustees to be elected at the next regular district election of the board members occurring at least 123 days after the governing board approves the increased number of trustees. This process is referred to below as the “CCD Exception.”
SB 442 also revises the CCD Exception to increase the 123 days to 125 days.
Districts in the process of changing election methods or considering redistricting changes should consult with counsel about how SB 442 impacts current plans.
(AB 442 amends Sections 5019, 5020, 5021, 5025, and 72036 of the Education Code.)