Overview and Updates

At a Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees on March 21, 2019, the Board adopted Resolution No. 24-2018-19 to initiate the process of establishing trustee areas and elections by district to transition from at-large elections to district elections.  Trustees are currently elected in “at-large” elections, where each member is elected by voters throughout the District’s territory.  Under the new system, Trustees will be elected by trustee-area; they will be required to live in the area they represent and will be elected only by the the registered voters of that area.

The City of Novato, along with many other cities and school districts throughout California, is also going through the same process.  The shift to district elections is gaining momentum in California for several reasons.  Under state law, an at-large method of election may impair the ability of some voters to elect candidates of their choice or to influence the outcome of elections and may also be subject to a challenge under the California Voting Rights Act of 2001.  The decision to move to district elections will ensure that NUSD goes through a sound and transparent process that will take effect with the 2020 Board of Trustee elections. Please review this webpage for the most current information.

MAY 7, 2019 PUBLIC HEARING

At the Board meeting on May 7, 2019, at 7:25 pm, the Board will have an open session for the following:

  1. Demographers Report
  2. Public Hearing to solicit input from the public regarding the composition of the district’s Trustee areas
  3. Discussion/Action: Changing the number of Trustees from seven (7) to five (5)

NUSD welcomes input on the composition of the Trustee areas and the proposition of changing the number of Trustees.

PUBLIC PROCESS FOR CREATION OF TRUSTEE AREAS

March 21, 2019 Special Board Meeting – Adopted Resolution No. 24-2018-19 to initiate the process of establishing trustee areas and elections by district to transition from at-large elections to district elections.

April 2, 2019 Board Meeting – Discussion on District Election Process.  Presentation by David Soldani, legal counsel from Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, and Rudd & Romo.

April 23, 2019 Board Meeting – Discussion on changing the number of Trustees from seven (7) to five (5).

May 7, 2019 Board Meeting – Public Hearing at 7:25 pm to hear input from the community about district elections and changing trustees from seven (7) to five (5) and hear demographers initial report.

May 21, 2019 Board Meeting – Public Hearing at 7:10 pm to hear input from the community about district elections and Discussion/Action on Resolution regarding the criteria to guide the creation of Trustee areas.

July/August 2019* – District posts and distributes information on draft trustee areas maps created by demographer based on community input.

September 2019* – Two (2) Public Hearings on the draft maps.

October 2019* – Approve final maps.

*Dates to be determined

RESOLUTION TO TRANSITION TO TRUSTEE AREA ELECTIONS

RESOLUTION NO. 24 – 2018-2019

RESOLUTION INITIATING PROCESS OF ESTABLISHING TRUSTEE AREAS AND
ELECTIONS BY-TRUSTEE AREAS

WHEREAS, the Novato Unified School District (“District”) currently uses an at-large system of electing the members of its Board of Education; and

WHEREAS, the Board is aware that under state law an at-large method of election may be deemed to impair the ability of some voters to elect candidates of their choice or to influence the outcome of elections and, therefore, may be subject to challenge under the California Voting Rights Act of 2001, California Elections Code § 14025, et seq. (“CVRA”); and

WHEREAS, the District has decided to initiate the process of establishing trustee areas and changing the method of electing members of the Board, in order to ensure compliance with the CVRA or, at minimum, avoid the potential for costly litigation under the CVRA; and

WHEREAS, Board intends to initiate a very deliberate, careful, and public process for establishing trustee areas, and for changing the method of electing members of the Board, to take effect commencing with the November, 2020 election.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board hereby finds the foregoing recitals to be true and correct; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board directs the Superintendent or his designee to immediately initiate the legal and regulatory process to establish trustee areas within the District, as provided in Education Code section 5019, in sufficient time for trustee areas to be established for the November, 2020 election of members of the Board; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board directs the Superintendent or his designee to collaborate with a demographer, to prepare draft by-trustee area map scenarios for review and input by the Board and members of the public at upcoming meetings; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board directs the Superintendent or his designee to initiate the legal and regulatory process of changing the method of electing members of the Board, from the current at-large system whereby each member of the Board is elected by the registered voters of the entire District (Education Code section 5030(a)), to a method which provides that Board members residing in each trustee area will be elected by the registered voters of that particular trustee area (Education Code 5030(b)), in sufficient time for the new method of electing members of the Board to be in place for the November, 2020 election; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board directs the Superintendent or his designee to initiate processes for establishing trustee areas and changing the method of electing members of the Board that are inclusive, thoughtful, and public, providing for and encouraging significant input on the issues the Board and Marin County Committee on School District Organization will address from all interested citizens and interest groups; and

BE IT FURTHER AND FINALLY RESOLVED that the Superintendent or his designee is authorized to initiate the legal and regulatory process to seek a waiver from the State Board of Education, of the requirements of Education Code section 5020 and related statutes, so that action of the Marin County Committee on School District Organization establishing trustee election areas and adopting one of the alternative methods of electing Board members specified in Education Code section 5030 does not constitute an order of election.

Click here to view signed resolution.