Public Hearing: Transition from at-large School Board elections to trustee-area elections in accordance with the California Voting Rights Act.

Camie Barnwell

In 2018, Santa Barbara Unified School District voted to transition from at-large elections to trustee-area elections in accordance with the California Voting Rights Act. The act took effect January 1, 2003. It prohibits the use of “at-large” elections when such an election system: “impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election….”

-(Elections Code §14027.)

Pursuant to California Elections Code section 10010(a), before drawing maps of proposed boundaries of trustee-areas, the District must hold two public hearings at which the public is invited to provide input regarding the composition of the districts.

The first of those two public hearings was held on August, 24, 2021, and included the following presentation. The second public hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, as part of our regularly scheduled school board meeting, which begins at 5:30 pm. Following these public hearings, a series of community outreach webinars will be held. 

The process is scheduled as follows: 

TRUSTEE AREA PROCESS DATE ACTIVITY 

August 24, 2021 Board Meeting

First Pre-Map Public Hearing and Presentation

September 14, 2021 Board Meeting

Second Pre-Map Public Hearing 

September to October 2021                     

Preparation of draft trustee area scenarios 

October 12, 2021 Board Meeting

First Public Hearing- MapTrustee Area Scenarios

October 14 and 21, 2021

6 p.m.

Community Meetings via Webinar 

October 26, 2021 Board Meeting 

6 p.m.

Second Public Hearing-MapTrustee Area Scenarios 

November 4 and 11, 2021

Community Meetings via Webinar

November 16, or December 14, 2021 Board Meeting:

Third Public Hearing- MapTrustee Area Scenarios

Board Selection of Trustee Area Map Board Consideration of Change in Election Method 

January – February 2022

County Committee on School District Organization Holds a Public Hearing and Considers Approval of Change in Election Method and Trustee Area Map 

November 8, 2022

First Election Held Utilizing Trustee Areas

 

To attend this virtual meeting via Zoom, please visit sbunified.org and see the agenda.

 

TYPES OF ELECTIONS

 

AT-LARGE ELECTIONS

Candidates must reside within the District’s boundaries and are elected by all the

voters who reside in the District’s boundaries (Education Code Section 5030(a)). This is

the method of election currently used by Santa Barbara Unified School District

(“SBUSD”). This method of election is subject to challenge under the California

Voting Rights Act.

 

FROM-TRUSTEE AREA ELECTIONS

Candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the District’s boundaries

called “Trustee Areas” but are elected by all the voters who reside in the District’s

boundaries (Education Code Section 5030(c)). This method of election is subject to

challenge under the California Voting Rights Act.

 

BY-TRUSTEE AREA ELECTIONS

Candidates must reside in specific Trustee Areas within the District’s boundaries and

are elected only by the voters who reside in the same Trustee Areas (Education Code

Section 5030(b)). This method of election is the only method that is safe from

challenge under the California Voting Rights Act.