Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why is FUESD moving to Trustee Area Elections?
- In August 2018, the District received a letter from the law firm of Shenkman & Hughes claiming the school district is violating the California Voting Rights Act (Elec. Code §§ 14025-14032) because Trustees are elected at-large rather than by districts. Dozens of local government agencies in California have faced similar challenges in recent years, including the cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista and San Marcos and the school districts of Oceanside Unified, Carlsbad Unified, Vista Unified, and San Marcos Unified. In response to a lawsuit threat, on November 5, 2018 the FUESD Governing Board voted unanimously to move to by-district elections, taking advantage of a legal protection that enables school districts to have a say in district boundaries and avoid costly litigation by voluntarily agreeing to move to trustee area elections.
Q. What is the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA)?
- The CVRA, enacted in 2002 and updated in 2017, prohibits the use of an at-large election system if it can be shown that such a system results in racially polarized voting. “An at-large method of election may not be imposed or applied in a manner that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election, as a result of the dilution or the abridgment of the rights of voters who are members of a protected class…” (Elec. Code, § 14027)
Q. What is a protected class?
- A class of voters who are members of a race, color, or language minority group, as this is referenced and defined in the federal Voting Rights Act. The Hispanic/Latino population is considered a protected class in FUESD.
Q. What is the difference between “At-Large Voting” and “Trustee Area Elections?”
- At-large elections occur when each trustee is elected by all voters within the District. Trustee-area elections, also known as district-based or ward elections, occur when each trustee must reside within the designated trustee-area boundary, and is elected only by the voters in that area.
Q. Does this change where my child attends school?
- No. Trustee Area Elections will have no impact on school attendance boundaries.
Q. How does this affect my vote?
- Instead of voting for all five members of the Governing Board, you will vote for the one trustee who represents your area of the district.
Q. When will FUESD make the change to Trustee Area Elections?
- The first Trustee Area Elections will take place in the 2020 general election.
Q. Will the Trustee Area map change over time?
- The map will be revised after the 2020 Federal Census.
Q. How can I provide input on this transition?
- You can attend a public hearing on the matter. Click here for a meeting schedule, or you can email TrusteeAreaElections@fuesd.org.
Q. How will the districts be drawn?
- FUESD is committed to an open and transparent process. The public process began in November to solicit input and create the maps. It is expected that two or three maps will emerge for public comment.
Q. I cannot attend any of the public hearings/meetings, is there a way to submit comments online?
- Yes, there is a link on the district webpage to submit comments or you can email TrusteeAreaElections@fuesd.org.
Q. Who picks the final map?
- The FUESD Governing Board will select and adopt the final map.