** This content is also available in: SPANISH * FARSI (DARI) * ARABIC * UKRAINIAN * PASHTO * RUSSIAN**
The San Juan Unified School District, like many other cities and school districts in the state, is in the process of changing how members of the Board of Education are elected to office from an ‘at large’ election to a ‘by-trustee area’ election.
Originally started in March of 2020, the process was paused to be in compliance with an executive order from Governor Newsom that temporarily suspended such activities to help protect the health and safety of the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the executive order expiring after June 30, the district will resume the process.
At-Large vs. By-Trustee Area
Currently, board members in San Juan Unified are elected by all of the voters in the district. This is known as an ‘at-large’ election. When there are multiple board seats up for election, voters choose multiple candidates from those who are running when they complete their ballot.
When elections are held through ‘by-trustee areas,’ the district is divided into smaller areas and candidates for the board seat representing that district area must reside in that specific district area. Voters select one candidate from those who are running to represent their area of the district and do not vote on the seats representing other areas of the district.
Determining Trustee Areas
Trustee areas must be roughly the same size in terms of the number of inhabitants. Using the latest Census data available, a demographer generates maps that balance the size of each area along with requirements to ensure protected classes of voters are not divided in a manner that would make it more difficult for them to elect candidates of their choice or influence the outcome of an election. Within this scope, the demographer may also take into consideration local conditions such as major roadways, natural barriers, and other factors.
Trustee Area Map Options
The district’s demographer will generate maps after a special board meeting set for July 1. The draft maps will be published no later than July 6 for public review and input.
If the board requests revisions to the initial maps, those revisions will be published no later than July 20 for public review and input.
Sharing Your Voice
There are multiple opportunities and avenues for members of the community to share their feedback on the proposed maps.
The board will hold special meetings that include public hearings on July 1, July 13 and July 27, 2021. Any member of the public may offer up to two minutes of public comment at these meetings or submit a written comment.
On July 14 and July 15, the district will hold community meetings at three locations throughout the district, as well as online, offering the opportunity to learn more about the process, review proposed maps and provide feedback that will be shared with the board for their consideration.
Members of the community can also submit written feedback at any time throughout the process using this form.