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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 iconRelated Links

  1. Petition to Comply with the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA)
  2. WUSD Board of Education Resolution No. 1718-22: Intent to Transition Governing Board Elections from At-Large to By-Trustee Area Elections
  3. Timeline for Transitioning from At-Large to By-Area Trustee Elections
  4. June 20- 2018 Community Forum Packet.pdf
  5. Public Forum Letter_CVRA_6-20-2018.pdf
  6. PowerPoint Presentation_Demographer_CVRA_ 06-28-2018.pdf
  7. FIRST DRAFTS of the trustee area maps along with the demographic information for each is  available below (posted 7/10/18). All three 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 MapOrange Map Demographics - The Orange map most closely adheres to the attendance areas when possible.
    • Purple MapPurple 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.
  8. Community Update, posted 7/11/2018
  9. Interactive Maps Tool
**The Board of Education will be holding a Special Meeting to review and discuss the first drafts of the trustee area maps on Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 6:00 pm at the District Office, Room 75.

card header iconCommunity Forums

Members of the public are invited to review the complete join us us at the following community forum opportunities:

Community Forum #1

June 20, 2018

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Bryte Café, 637 Todhunter Ave.

Community Forum #2

August 22, 2018

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Southport Elementary Cafeteria, 2747 Linden Rd.

Community Forum #3

September 5, 2018

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Bryte Café, 637 Todhunter Ave.

Community Forum #4

September 19, 2018

6:00 - 7:00 PM

Southport Elementary Cafeteria, 2747 Linden Rd.

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