The Fontana Unified School District is changing its approach to the voting process, transitioning from at-large to by-trustee area elections for the five members of the Board of Education.
Previously, the board members have always been elected by voters throughout the entire school district, but in future elections, each board member must reside within the designated trustee area boundary and will be elected only by the voters in that trustee area. Voters would only vote for one seat on the board.
Back in November, the board adopted a resolution approving the district’s intent to make this change and comply with the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) of 2001. The resolution passed with a vote of 4-1, with Joe Armendarez casting the No vote.
The board’s action took place after the district received a letter in October from the law offices of Carlos R. Perez, which stated its belief that the at-large election system for board members had resulted in minority vote dilution in violation of the CVRA. So the board decided that because by-trustee area electoral systems are not vulnerable to challenge under the CVRA, it would be prudent to make the shift to this process, starting with the November 2022 election.
Now the FUSD will be holding public hearings related to this transition. The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 12, and public input is welcome regarding proposed maps and trustee area geographical boundaries, the district said.
Then a special meeting will take place on Jan. 26, when the board will review proposed trustee area scenarios. After the meeting, these scenarios will be posted on the district website for review and comments.
On Feb. 2 and 16, the district will hold public hearings on the proposed trustee area map.
The Fontana City Council adopted the by-trustee area process back in 2018 after receiving a similar letter from a law firm.