card header iconAbout

School districts throughout California must consider if their elections could be found to violate the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). The CVRA is intended to ensure that minority groups have the ability to elect candidates of their choice to the elected boards of local agencies. It attempts to achieve this by prohibiting: 
  1. The use of “at-large” elections to elect governing board members,
  2. Where there is evidence of racially polarized voting; and,
  3. The elections prevent a protected class from electing candidates of their choice. 
If all three factors are met and a voter initiates a legal challenge, it is likely the school district would be found in violation of the CVRA. However, if any of the factors are not met, specifically if the school district uses “by-trustee area” elections, then there is no potential for a violation of the CVRA.
 
When a school district reviews application of the CVRA, it has essentially three options: 
  1. Decide to maintain the status quo, i.e., at-large elections,
  2. Transition to by-trustee area elections by adopting trustee area maps and seeking approval at the county and state level; or,
  3. Commission an analysis of the school district’s demographics and voting history to determine the potential for a CVRA violation and then determine if it will maintain or transition its election system.
The Washington Unified School District is governed by a five member Board of Education. Board members are currently elected in “at-large” elections, where each member is elected by registered voters throughout the District. The District is committed to structures that most effectively involve all community members in the democratic process of elections.
 
Recently, the District received a letter stating that the current elections are in violation of the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”) and indicating litigation may result if the District does not make this transition. On March 5, 2018, the District received a letter from attorney Scott Rafferty on behalf of the Latino Information and Resource Network, the Broderick Area Homeowners’ Association, Maria Grijalva, Edward Castorena, and Sandra Miranda, alleging that the District’s current at-large election system violates the CVRA as it “dilutes minority electoral influence in the election of board members to the [District]…;”

card header iconCommunity Forums

These events are open to all members of the public.
 
Community Forum #1
June 20, 2018
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Bryte Café, 637 Todhunter Ave. 
Community Forum #3
September 5, 2018
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Bryte Café, 637 Todhunter Ave. 
Community Forum #2
August 22, 2018
6:00 - 7:00 PM
Southport Elementary Cafeteria, 2747 Linden Rd.
Community Forum #4
September 19, 2018
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Southport Elementary Library, 2747 Linden Rd.

card header iconDraft Maps

FIRST DRAFTS of the trustee area maps along with the demographic information for each is  available below (posted 7/10/18).
 
All maps keep each Trustee in a separate Trustee Area; the sequencing that follows is directly on each map. Each map seeks to balance the criteria in different ways. Each creates one seat where Latino CVAP is above 30% and a second between 25% - 30%, both in the north of the district. In addition, each creates a 21-24% Asian CVAP seat in the south, along the west bank of the river.
  • Green Map I Green Map Demographics - The Green Map is the most compact option, and emphasizes following major roads and canals to keep neighborhoods together.
  • Orange Map I Orange Map Demographics - The Orange Map most closely adheres to the attendance areas when possible.
  • Purple Map I Purple Map Demographics - The Purple Map keeps the less-populated industrial/agricultural areas in the eastern part of the district together, linking the northern and central part of the district.
  • Yellow Map I Yellow Map Demographics - The Yellow Map incorporates requested revisions made by the Trustees at the September 13th Regularly Scheduled Board Meeting focusing entirely on attendance boundaries and not taking into account where the current trustees live. 

card header iconAdditional Information

  1. Notice of Public Hearing - Public hearing on the request to the State Board of Education for a waiver of certain provisions of the Education Code in connection with establishment of a By-Trustee Area Election System for the Board.
  2. View the recording of the public hearing about draft maps at the August 23, 2018 School Board Meeting.
  3. Interactive Maps Tool - this tool provides a full aerial view of the entire school district with school boundaries
  4.  Red dot map this tool provides a density map indicating where students live.
  5. Community Update - this is a WUSD community updated posted on July 11, 2018.
  6. Demographer's Presentation - this PowerPoint presentation was prepared by the demographer and presented at the July 19, 2018 Special Board Meeting. 
  7. View the recording of the presentation at the June 28, 2018 School Board Meeting.
  8. Community Letter of Support - this letter was submitted to the WUSD Board of Trustees and shared during Community Forum #1 on June 20, 2018.
  9. Timeline for Transitioning - this is a schedule of the complete Timeline For Trustee Area Map Development. (REVISED 8/24/18)
  10. Resolution No. 1718-22 - this is a copy of the resolution signed by the WUSD Board of Trustees indicating their Intent to transition governing board elections from at-large to by-trustee area elections.
  11. Petition to Comply - this is a copy of the Petition to Comply with the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) submitted to the WUSD Board of Trustees on March 3, 2018.

card header iconFrequently Asked Questions

What is the California Voters Right Act (CVRA)?

The CVRA was enacted to prevent the use of at-large elections by local governments to dilute the vote of protected classes. The CVRA is intended to ensure that minority groups have the ability to elect candidates of their choice to the elected boards of local agencies. In an at-large system, if all members of a governing board are elected by all voters in the school district, then a group which constitutes a majority of voters in that school district can elect the entire board while a minority group may be unable to elect any candidates of their choice.  
School districts throughout California must consider if their elections could be found to violate the CVRA. Three requirements for CVRA violation:
  1. At-large election system.
  2. Racially polarized voting.
  3. Protected class cannot elect candidates or influence elections.
If all three factors are met and a voter initiates a legal challenge, it is likely the school district would be found in violation of the CVRA. However, if any of the factors are not met, specifically if the school district uses “by-trustee area” elections, then there is no potential for a violation of the CVRA.
 
(Elec. Code, § 14027)
“An at-large method of election may not be imposed or applied in a manner that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election, as a result of the dilution or the abridgment of the rights of voters who are members of a protected class…” 

What does this mean for Washington Unified School District?

When a school district reviews application of the CVRA, it has essentially
three options: 
  1. Decide to maintain the status quo, i.e., at-large elections; 
  2. Transition to by-trustee area elections by adopting trustee area maps and seeking approval at the county and state level; or, 
  3. Commission an analysis of the school district’s demographics and voting history to determine the potential for a CVRA violation and then determine if it will maintain or transition its election system.
The Washington Unified School District is governed by a five member Board. Board members are currently elected in “at-large” elections, where each member is elected by registered voters throughout the District.  The District is committed to structures that most effectively involve all community members in the democratic process of elections.
  1. CVRA applies to WUSD since it uses at-large elections.
  2. If all elements are met, could support a violation of the CVRA.
  3. Transition to by-trustee area elections could immunize District.
On March 5, 2018, the District received a letter from attorney Scott Rafferty on behalf of the Latino Information and Resource Network, the Broderick Area Homeowners’ Association, Maria Grijalva, Edward Castorena, and Sandra Miranda, alleging that the District’s current at-large election system violates the CVRA as it “dilutes minority electoral influence in the election of board members to the [District]…;”

What is the process for the transition to by-area trustee elections?

At the April 12, 2018 Board Meeting, the Board approved Resolution No. 1718-22 (see attached) indicating intent to transition Board elections from at-large to by-trustee area elections by November 2020. In order to facilitate this transition and determine the trustee area boundaries the District will take the following steps:

  • Engage the community and District stakeholders as to the trustee area boundaries.
  • Post all draft trustee area boundary maps on the District's website as they become available.
  • Allow for comments on the maps to be submitted through the District's website.
  • Provide sufficient time between revisions to the draft trustee area boundary maps to provide the community with the opportunity to review and comment on the maps.
  • Hold at least three (3) public hearings at Board meetings on the draft trustee area boundary maps prior to adoption of any map.
  • Organize additional community meetings to review draft trustee area boundary maps and obtain comment regarding same.
  • Provide all materials related to the draft trustee area maps in English, Spanish and Russian.

These steps may be augmented or adjusted by the Board or District staff as necessary.

Where are we in the process for the transition to by-area trustee elections?

  • The Board has approved a timeline for this process. (see attached)
  • The Board has retained a demographer to draft area boundaries.
  • Public Hearing 1: June 14, 2018 Board Meeting
  • Public Hearing 2: June 28, 2018 Board Meeting
  • Drafted trustee area boundary maps posted on District’s website. District allows for comments on the drafted maps on the website, Community Forums, and Public Hearings at Board Meetings.
  • Board adopts boundaries and transition.
  • Approval by County Committee and election or State Board of Education.
    • The Yolo County Committee on School District Organization must hold one hearing on the proposal and then approve or disapprove.
  • Under the Education Code, the transition would then go to District voters for approval.But, State Board of Education (SBE) can waive the election requirement.
  • SBE has regularly granted waivers of the election requirements for districts transitioning to by-trustee area elections.
  • Avoid cost and unknowns involved in an election.
  • Need to follow general SBE waiver requirements.

card header iconCVRA Inquiries Form

This contact form is intended for CVRA related inquiries ONLY. Please enter "CVRA Inquiry" into the subject line.
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