The OK by the county schools committee brings the Patterson Joint Unified School closer to requesting a waiver from the State Board of Education to adopt the changes without a special school board election.
The PJUSD trustees voted at its Feb. 4 special meeting to change the way board members are elected. The board also decided at that same meeting to keep a panel of seven trustees and divide the school district into seven corresponding geographical areas.
Only voters who live within the same geographical area as the candidate can then vote for that candidate. The district is aiming to begin the new election process during the November 2013 election.
The California Voting Rights Act of 2001 made at-large elections in school districts and cities open to legal attacks. So, many cities and school districts have adopted a by-trustee style of election, meaning voters must choose from candidates who live in the same geographical area.
The Stanislaus County Committee on School District Organization studies and makes recommendations in three areas: for the organization and re-organization of school districts, for transfer of territory between and/or among school districts and for the number of trustees and how they are elected.