California Voting Rights Act [CVRA]: Transition to by-Trustee Area VotingRecently, many cities, school districts and other public entities have had their election systems challenged under CVRA, leading to very expensive and divisive litigation. The Redlands Unified School District’s Board of Education’s preference is, and has always been, to avoid expenditures that do not directly benefit the children, families, and communities we serve. While RUSD believes its elections have not been racially polarized, a move to by-trustee area elections enables us to move forward without the potential of having to defend CVRA litigation in the future.
District staff and the Board are committed to continuing to focus on the District's core mission - providing the highest quality education for all of our students. The change in our system of electing trustees will not change the Board's history and commitment to making decisions based on the interests of the entire District, regardless of where individual trustees happen to reside.The transition to a "by-trustee" area election method will involve input from the community at public hearings on options for developing and approving a trustee area map; approval from the San Bernardino County Committee on School District Organization; and a waiver from the State Board of Education.
- Timeline for transition to by-trustee area elections:
- At the regular meeting on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, the Redlands Unified School District listened to a presentation on the CVRA. This presentation was prepared by attorney firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, and presented by Superintendent Rhodes:
- Additionally, the Board developed specific criteria to be used by the Dolinka Group in the development of Trustee Areas:
- At the regular meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, the Redlands Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved Resolution No. 28: Resolution Initiating Process of Establishing Trustee Areas and Elections by Trustee Areas. With the Resolution’s approval, and the implementation of the actions approved in the Resolution, RUSD will ensure that it is in compliance with the California Voting Rights Act [CVRA]. The act expands the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 and addresses whether or not elections using an "at-large" (district-wide) method impair the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election. A copy of the Resolution may be found by following this link:
In this transition, the District has initiated the creation of election areas that would be roughly equal in population and in compliance with State law, the Federal Voting Rights Act, and the United States Constitution. Using data from the 2010 Census, the District’s consultant, Dolinka Group, will create conceptual trustee area scenarios that divide the District into five new voting areas. The process will include hosting a series of public meetings to collect community input regarding the proposed area maps and allowing community members to view the conceptual trustee area scenarios and provide comments. Following community input, it is anticipated that the Board of Education will choose the final map at a meeting in the Fall of 2016.
- At the regular meeting on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, the Redlands Unified School District listened to two presentations on the CVRA. One of the presentations was prepared by attorney firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, and presented by Superintendent Rhodes. The other presentation was prepared and presented by Jason Martinez of Cooperative Strategies (formerly the Dolinka Group).
- Below are the two conceptual scenario maps and corresponding analysis chart provided to the District by Cooperative Strategies. (To zoom in on an area of the map, open the map and “click” on the magnifying glass in the toolbar and then click on the map to enlarge an area.)
The District is organizing several community information meetings for the fall of 2016. These meetings will be held for community members to view the two conceptual trustee area scenarios, receive information and provide comments.
Information On Community Meetings:
At the September 27, 2016, Board of Education Meeting, information was shared regarding the Pros/Cons of each map collected to date from community meetings, Board workshop, verbal comments, and website submissions.
At the October 11, 2016 Board of Education meeting, the Board selected the Valencia Orange Map. The selected Map may be viewed by clicking on the map below.
On October 19, 2016 the San Bernardino County Committee on School District Organization approved the District's by-trustee area map to be effective November 2016.