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South Bay Union Shifts to Trustee Area Elections Change will take Effect in November 2020

Jun 12, 2019 10:26PM ● By Paul Spear


Imperial Beach, CA – On June 6, 2019, the South Bay Union School District Board of Trustees approved Resolution 19-019, adopting a Map of proposed Trustee Areas and recommending that the San Diego County Committee on School District Organization approve and establish Trustee Areas from which South Bay Board Members will be elected. This was the final step in the District process, which began in January 2019, and included five Public Hearings.

South Bay is moving toward Trustee Area elections in order to comply with the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA) and avoid any potential legal challenges which may arise due to the use of an At-large election system. The CVRA, which was enacted by the legislature in 2002, is intended to maintain a fair election system that does not dilute the votes of minorities. Since the CVRA became law, governing bodies throughout the State have either voluntarily switched from At-large election methods or been forced to do so following costly litigation.

The switch from an At-large to a Trustee Area election method includes the adoption of a map, which splits the South Bay school district into five representative areas. Candidates for Board seats must reside within a Trustee Area and candidates are elected only by the registered voters of that Trustee Area. This change in election method will be in effect for the November 2020 election, when Trustee Areas 3 and 5 will be up for vote.

Once the South Bay map is approved by the County Committee, the transition to the new election method must either be approved by the voters or the District can seek a waiver from the State Board of Education to forego an election. South Bay will be applying for a waiver, which will significantly reduce the costs to the District of placing this item on the ballot in November 2020.

Superintendent Katie McNamara supports the election method transition, “Although we do not believe that we have polarized voting in South Bay, our Board is committed to maintaining a fair election system that ensures equitable representation for all voters. I commend our Trustees for their willingness to proactively take this action in support of our community.”

Additional information about the transition to Trustee-Area elections may be found on the District website.

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About the South Bay Union School District: The award winning South Bay Union School District proudly serves over 7,500 students in Imperial Beach, San Ysidro, and south San Diego. The District is comprised of twelve campuses, including nine K-6 schools, two K-8 charter schools, and one Preschool. South Bay offers several specialized programs including Dual Language, Instrumental Music, Leader in Me, Global Leadership and Empowerment, No Excuses University, Visual and Performing Arts, and a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Academy.

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