The Turlock Unified School District (TUSD) Board will hold a public hearing at its Tuesday Board Meeting to consider and discuss alternative maps for by-trustee area elections. Using the 2010 census data, received in April 2011, the District has drawn three proposed trustee area maps for the seven trustee areas.
The public hearing will include an administrative report that shows three proposed trustee area maps, dividing the district by race, population, and voter registration data. There will also be an opportunity for public testimony. The Tuesday night meeting begins at 6:00pm in the Turlock High School Performing Arts Building.
In January of 2010, the TUSD Board approved changing Board Trustee elections from at-large to by-district elections in order to ensure compliance with the California Voting Rights Act. Compliance with the Act ensures that there is an equal opportunity for minorities and first time candidates to participate in elections.
In December 2010, the County Committee approved that Turlock School Board Trustees will be elected by separate areas of the District in which they must live in, rather than at-large voting.
After Tuesday’s TUSD Board Meeting, the school board will then proceed to select a final trustee area map at their next Board Meeting, June 21.
The County Committee will then hold a second public hearing and approve the selected map, scheduled to take place in Spring 2012. Following their approval, the District will seek approval of the election changes from the United States Department of Justice. Initial elections by trustee areas are scheduled to take place on November 5, 2013.
In previous years, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area legally challenged cities, such as Modesto, and school districts, such as Ceres, to comply with the California Voting Rights Act. If the group challenges a government entity in regards to what they consider is not an equal opportunity election, the government entity would have to pay for their legal fees. This would be the result whether they win or lose and could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.