Yuba City Unified School District will be holding public hearings for input on the drawing of seven district boundaries in which board members will represent.
The process of drawing district boundaries calls for a series of public hearings, in which two are scheduled on Oct. 26 and Nov. 9 in the board’s chambers. These hearings will allow the public to provide extensive input on where boundary lines should be drawn for the seven trustee areas. The input will help strengthen the participation of voting subgroups.
According to Doreen Osumi, superintendent of YCUSD, two public meetings will be held before district maps are drafted and two public meetings will be held after the maps are drafted and created. Members will be encouraged to offer their perspectives and viewpoints. Advanced notices will be given before each meeting, said Osumi in an email. There will also be a special virtual study session held on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m.
“The Governing Board determined that district-based elections are necessary if our district is to be in compliance with the California Voting Rights Act and ensure that all of our community is represented fairly,” said Osumi in an email. “Moving from an at-large voting system to a trustee area system is not something done casually — public input is essential, and there will be multiple opportunities for testimony by community groups and individuals.”
In order to comply with the 2003 California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), YCUSD is changing its at-large elections to district-based elections, allowing voters residing within a trustee area to vote for their representative candidate when a board member’s term is finished. The CVRA was passed to prohibit at-large elections to minimize the influence of minority voters within broad at-large district areas. The majority of school districts in California have complied with the law, those that haven’t could face lawsuits and financial penalties.
Initially, YCUSD board members approved to change district boundary lines in March 2020 but the process was halted due the COVID-19 pandemic and the delay in the 2020 Census. However, since Census data is now available, YCUSD plans for the drawing of the trustee areas to be ready for the November 2022 election.
“It is our hope that this process reflects the active participation of all of our community,” said Osumi in an email.