ALSD Continues Review of Area-Based Voting Options

ALSD Continues Review of Area-Based Voting Options

The Alta Loma School District Board of Trustees continues to solicit input and review options for the district’s future switch to trustee-based elections.

Under threat of legal action and as prescribed by the California Voting Rights Act of 2001, ALSD will consider moving from at-large to trustee-area elections in 2020.

The Board of Trustees held its third public hearing about the issue at the Feb. 20 school board meeting to answer resident questions, provide information about area voting and solicit input and suggestions about mapping options. A fourth public hearing will follow at an upcoming school board meeting, with a decision about voting area maps to follow.

The area maps divide the Alta Loma School District into five separate sections. If approved, voters from each respective area will vote for a single trustee to represent that geographic section.

Board members will be elected in alternating voting cycles. For example, at least two positions will be up for election during the 2020 election and will represent designated geographic regions. Voters in the remaining areas will not vote for a school board member in 2020. The pattern will reverse in 2022, when the residents who did not have the option of voting in 2020 will be able to vote for their respective representatives.

All current board members were elected at-large and will remain under that designation until their respective area-based election in either 2020 or 2022.

The consulting firm Cooperative Strategies and ALSD staff have been collaborating to draw tentative trustee area map options within the overall school district boundaries, based on public input, the overall district population breakdown and a variety of other factors.

The California Voting Rights Act, which was approved in 2001 and took effect in 2003, is intended to make it easier for all ethnic groups to be represented in public elections by dividing a city, school district or other public agency into voting districts.

Over the past several years, dozens of California cities and school districts have switched from at-large elections to district elections.

While the ALSD school board elected to initiate the process toward trustee-area elections, it is closely monitoring lawsuits in other jurisdictions for a possible shift in legal precedent.