South Whittier School District held both a School Site Council and Advisory Committee meeting as well as a public hearing on Friday, April 26, regarding transitioning it’s method of which Governing Board members are elected. The district sought feedback about the district’s intent to seek a formal election waiver and to seek community input regarding the district’s four map scenarios.
Associate Superintendent of Business Services, Mark Keriakous, and Jonathan Salt, an attorney specializing in the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), held a meeting inviting all members of the School Site Council and Advisory Committee regarding a separate portion of this process, unrelated to trustee area map adoption. The district wanted to seek feedback regarding the district's intent to seek a waiver of the Education Code requirement that the election system transition be approved by the electorate in a formal election.
Ordinarily, in order to transition to a different method for electing governing board members, school districts must obtain a resolution approved by the County Committee on School District Organization, and pursuant to Education Code section 5020. The change in election method must be submitted to the electorate for its approval at the District’s next regular election.
However, the State Board of Education is authorized to waive portions of the Education Code related to the election requirement, upon request by school districts.
Obtaining this waiver will save the District time and money for the following reasons:
- Elections are expensive to conduct;
- The more time that passes prior to officially becoming a by-trustee area election district, the District remains exposed to litigation; and
- Failure at the polls will become “Exhibit A” in a costly lawsuit against the District.
It is important to remember that the waiver relates to an election to approve or disapprove the "by-trustee" area election system. The waiver does not impact the Governing Board's, and the County Committee on School District Organization's, decision regarding which map option will be implemented for future Board elections.
In order to obtain a waiver from the State Board of Education, the District must seek feedback from community stakeholders including bargaining units, school site councils, and advisory committees to determine whether there is any objection to the waiver submission. The District is further required to conduct a properly noticed public hearing whereby the public could provide feedback on the merits of obtaining a waiver from the State Board of Education and submitting a General Waiver Request form to the California Department of Education to be approved by the State Board of Education.
The district understands the importance of the election requirement and is not taking this action lightly. In all aspects related to this transition the district is committed to seeking out and considering community feedback.
Shortly after this meeting the district held a public hearing in their board room to seek community input regarding the four map scenarios.
Each scenario showed a different option for how trustee areas could be broken up. Each scenario is in compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act and achieves population equality as nearly as is practical.
This was the second public hearing seeking community input regarding the four map scenarios. There will be one more public hearing held Tuesday, May 7, before the board submits an option for consideration.
For more information regarding the CVRA transition and map options, please visit:
Upcoming public hearing regarding the CVRA map options:
Date: Tuesday, May 7
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Where: District Board Room
Address: 11200 Telechron Avenue, Whittier, CA 90605