From "At Large" to a "By-Trustee Area" Elections
What is the CVRA?
The California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) prohibits the use of an election system “that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election.” Elected entities can be sued if their election systems result in racially polarized voting. If a court finds against an elected entity, the elected entity must change its election system and pay substantial attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses.
Paso Robles Joint Unified School District is transitioning from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections. Beginning in November 2022, residents will vote for a single Board of Trustee candidate residing in their newly drawn trustee area. The public is invited to provide input on the district formation mapping during public hearings. On April 25, 2021, the Board affirmed the process of converting the method by which Board members are elected. Under the current "at-large" system, all registered voters within the District's boundaries vote for any candidate for all Board member seats. Under the new proposed system, candidates will be elected by “trustee areas.” This means only voters within a given trustee area can vote for candidates who reside within that same area. The intent of this proposed system is to offer greater opportunities for Board representation by candidates who might not otherwise be elected under an at-large system.
The difference between "At Large" and "By-Trustee Area" Elections?
PRJUSD currently has an "at-large" election system where voters of the entire city elect all members of the School Board. A “by-trustee area” election system will carve PRJUSD's district into seven (7) "by-trustee areas." Voters in each "by-trustee area" will choose their School Board representative, who must also live in that "by-trustee area."
The Paso Robles Joint USD held the first of three Public Hearings on May 25,2021 regarding Trustee Area Scenarios. FOUR (4) different Trustee area scenarios were presented and discussed. The second Public Hearing was held on June 8,2021 where area scenarios were discussed at length. On June 22,2021 the Paso Paso Robles Board of Trustees approved the new Trustee Area Map.
The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District completed the process to transition from at-large to by-trustee area elections earlier this year utilizing 2010 Census data. In a by-trustee area election system, each trustee is required to reside within a defined trustee area.
Upon release of the U.S. Decennial Census data, school districts that use by-trustee area elections are required to evaluate whether the current trustee areas have approximately equal population using the new census data. The variation in total population among trustee areas must not exceed 10%. If the total peak variation is less than 10%, no changes are needed. If the total peak variation exceeds 10%, trustee area boundaries need to be adjusted. This process is referred to as “redistricting.”
The District hired profession a demographers, Cooperative Strategies, to conduct a study of the 2020 Census data to determine whether the current trustee areas are population balanced. After evaluating the data, Cooperative Strategies determined that the District will need to make adjustments to the current boundaries. Cooperative Strategies will present the findings of their study and present two proposed map adjustments for the Board and community to consider.
Thereafter, the Board will hold a public hearing to gather input regarding the proposed map adjustment options.
On January 25, 2022, Cooperative Strategies will again present its study of the 2020 census data, as well as four potential map options.
Public Hearing Notices/ Aviso de Audiencia Publica
June 22, 2021 - Trustee Area Scenarios - Third Public Hearing
April 27, 2021 - General Waiver Request/pedido de renuncia general
Approved Trustee Area Maps