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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I learn more about districting and redistricting?
There are a number of online publications and guides to redistricting. You can start with this one from MALDEF and the NAACP, or this (long) one from the Brennan Center, this one from the League of Women Voters, or this FAQ from the California Independent Redistricting Commission.

Why is SRCS transitioning to trustee area elections?
In 2002, the Legislature enacted the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) (Elec. Code §§14025 – 14032), which prohibits California public agencies, including public school districts, from imposing or applying an at-large election method “that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election” (Elec. Code §14027). A protected class is defined by the CVRA as “a class of voters who are members of a race, color, or language minority group, as this class is referenced and defined in the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965”.

In a lawsuit brought pursuant to the CVRA, a plaintiff who establishes a history of “racially polarized voting” under a school district's at-large election system can require a school district to change to a district-based election system. In February 2019, the District received a letter from an attorney, asserting racially-polarized voting in San Rafael. On March 25, 2019, the SRCS Board of education adopted a resolution outlining its intention to transition from at-large to district-based elections, which included specific steps the District will undertake to facilitate the transition, and an estimated time frame for doing so. To avoid litigation, SRCS must complete the process by September 11, 2019.

How will trustee area boundaries be created?
Below is the criteria used for creating trustee areas:

  1. Each trustee area must contain a nearly equal population.
  2. Trustee area borders must be drawn in a manner that complies with the federal, state, and any applicable law.
  3. In establishing trustee areas, the Board of Education may give consideration to the following factors: topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, compactness of territory, and community of interests.
  4. The Board of Education may also establish other criteria, so long as they do not conflict with federal, state, or applicable law.

Are other school districts making this change?
More than 200 school districts and 100 cities across the state are making this change in large part due to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). Other school districts which have recently made this change include Santa Rosa CS, Dublin USD, West Contra Costa USD, Martinez USD and Redwood City SD, while several others are in the process of making this change including Novato USD, Antioch USD and San Ramon Valley USD. In addition several Northern California cities, including the cities of San Rafael and Novato have recently made this transition.

Can you tell me more about the process? 
Switching to by-trustee elections will require the District to create five geographic trustee areas within the District, each assigned to one seat on the Board. Voters within each trustee area will vote only for candidates for the seat on the Board assigned to their trustee area. The Board is working with a professional demographer to create proposed trustee area boundaries which will be refined and revised following the public’s input. Ultimately, the Board will adopt a proposed map which will be reviewed and approved by the Marin County Committee on School District Organization. Once the transition is approved, Board elections will be transitioned to by-trustee area elections beginning with the 2020 election. The current Board members will continue in office until the expiration of their terms in 2020 or 2022.
 
Why is the timeline set the way it is, with a portion of the process happening over the summer?
Elections Code section 10010 establishes a timeline around the transition to by-trustee area elections. This timeline was triggered by Mr. Shenkman’s letter, if the Board did not adopt an “intent resolution” within 45 days of receipt of the letter, Mr. Shenkman could have filed suit to force the transition. However, the Board did adopt Resolution 1819-24 on March 25, 2019 declaring its intention to transition from at-large to by-trustee area elections. Due to the District’s adoption of Resolution 1819-24, Mr. Shenkman was barred by statute from commencing any legal action related to the transition to by-trustee area elections for 90 days thereafter.  A recent amendment to section 10010 allows an agency and individual who sent a demand letter to agree to extend this immunity period to a total of 180 days. Given this option and recognizing the District’s upcoming summer break and the superintendent search, at the District’s request Mr. Shenkman agreed to extend the District’s time period to adopt final trustee area maps until September 11, 2019.  

What do the acronyms and categories mean on the demographic sheets?
These are standard categories included in the Census. Not all of the categories are relevant for creating trustee area maps. Acronyms include:

  • NH: Non-Hispanic
  • VAP: Voting age population
  • CVAP: Citizen Voting Age Population
  • CVRA: California Voting Rights Act
  • NDC: National Demographics Corporation (the firm hired by the District to create the maps)

Do I have to submit a complete map?
No. You can draw boundaries for just the trustee area where you’d like your neighborhood to be or any part of the school district boundaries.

Can I submit more than one map?
Yes.

What happens to the maps?
Once submitted, maps are considered public records. The District will post all legally-compliant submitted maps on its website.

How often are the voting trustee areas reviewed?
Trustee areas are reviewed every ten years, following the Census. 

Need help?
Contact the District’s demographers at National Demographics Corporation: 818-254-1221 (phone and fax) or SRCS@NDCresearch.com.

These FAQs will be updated and added to as the process unfolds. If you have a question you would like answered, please submit it to communications@srcs.org or 415-492-3233.