The Rialto Unified School District will soon have a new system for electing school board members and welcomes public input to inform the process.
The RUSD is moving from what is known as at-large elections to by-trustee area elections, beginning with the next school board member election in November 2022. The District will be working to create a map of by-trustee voting areas over the next several months.
The process is governed by the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which took effect in January 2003. The CVRA prohibits the use of at-large elections when such an election system: “impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election.” The goal of the CVRA is to ensure minorities and other members of protected classes can elect candidates of their choice or influence the outcome of elections. To achieve this goal, the CVRA favors by-trustee area elections, which is where only voters residing within each trustee area will elect a trustee who also must reside within the trustee area.
Currently, under the at-large election system, RUSD board members can live anywhere “within the District boundaries (which encompasses the City of Rialto, parts of Colton, San Bernardino, and Fontana and Lytle Creek. School board members for at-large districts are elected by all voters, not split into areas. Under a by-trustee-area election system, the RUSD will be divided into geographic areas, known as trustee areas, and a board member residing in each trustee area is elected by the registered voters who live in that particular trustee area.
“To prepare for the election in 2022, the RUSD Board of Education Board of Education will hold public hearings at our upcoming school board meetings to collect public input on how to draw maps for the trustee areas,” stated Syeda Jafri, RUSD Agent of Communications/Media Services. “We held a public hearing at the Oct. 6, 2021, school meeting as well. Community members who wish to speak on this topic can also attend the Oct. 22, 2021, RUSD school board meeting and make a public comment. Community members may also submit input via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All emails referencing the California Voting Rights Act will be forwarded to the Board of Education’s executive agent to record. Additionally, the CVRA information can be found on the District website at www.rialto.k12.ca.us. We welcome and appreciate the feedback from our education community.”
RUSD School Board Meetings are held at the Dr. John R. Kazalunas Education Center, located at 182 East Walnut Avenue in Rialto. Open session convenes at 7 p.m. or slightly thereafter. The RUSD asks for anyone making a public comment to arrive at the school board meeting by 6:45 p.m. to fill out a form to speak.
The input from the public will be used to draw by-trustee area maps for consideration. The maps will be first presented to the Board of Education and available for the public to comment on at the Nov. 17, 2021, board meeting. A second public hearing will take place at the Dec. 15, 2021, school board meeting, followed by the third public hearing at the Jan. 19, 2022, school board meeting. At the Jan. 19, 2022, meeting, the Board of Education will select the final trustee area map and vote on changing the election method. Then the by-trustee area map will be presented to the San Bernardino County Committee on School Board District Organization for approval. For more information on CVRA please contact 909.820-7700, ext. 2123.