The Natomas Unified School District, like many other cities and school districts in the state, is in the process of changing how members of the Board of Education are elected to office. Last December, the Natomas Unified Board of Trustees directed staff to begin the process of moving Natomas Unified (NUSD) from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections. The district hires an outside demographer to help us during this process. The information below, including the timeline, will help you understand the process in more detail.
At-Large vs. By-Trustee Area
Since its unification, the five (5) board members in Natomas Unified are elected by all of the voters in the district. This is known as an ‘at-large’ election. When there are multiple board seats up for election, voters choose multiple candidates from those who are running when they complete their ballot.
When elections are held through ‘by-trustee areas,’ the district is divided into smaller areas and candidates for the board seat representing that district area must reside in that specific district area. Voters select one candidate from those who are running to represent their area of the district and do not vote on the seats representing other areas of the district.
At the January 20, 2021 Board Meeting, the Board approved a resolution (“letter of intent”) 5-0 to direct staff to lead the school district to the change from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections. Trustee areas will include five (5) areas that make sure the 5 areas are each represented by an elected NUSD Trustee who will live within a specific Trustee Area. Below is a graphic that helps explain the transition.
Determining Trustee Areas
Trustee areas must be roughly the same size in terms of the number of residents. Using the latest Census data available, a demographer generates maps that balance the size of each area along with requirements to ensure protected classes of voters are not divided in a manner that would make it more difficult for them to elect candidates of their choice or influence the outcome of an election. The demographer may also take into consideration local conditions such as major roadways, natural barriers, and other factors.
Trustee Area Map Options
The district’s demographer will generate maps after the September 1, 2021 regular board meeting. The draft maps will be published no later than October 20 for public review and input.
If the board requests revisions to the initial maps, those revisions will be published no later than November 10 for public review and input.
Sharing Your Voice
There have been, and will continue to be, multiple opportunities and ways for members of the community to share their feedback throughout this process.
In December 2020 the NUSD Board of Trustees received a presentation from legal counsel on the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) and unanimously approved the next steps of adopting a “letter of intent” to begin the transition process. The letter of intent (a resolution) was adopted at the January 20, 2021 regular board meeting.
During the summer of 2021 the district launched two surveys to the Natomas community, and will be meeting with various stakeholder groups throughout the month of August. These opportunities will allow stakeholders to learn more about the process and provide feedback that can be shared with the board and/or demographer for their consideration.
Beginning in October draft maps will be available. The Board of Trustees will hold public hearings during the regular board meetings on October 27, November 17, and December 14, 2021.Members of the public may attend Board meetings in person, watch our live stream, or watch the recorded Board Meeting(s) at their convenience starting the day after each meeting. The live stream and board meeting recordings can be accessed here. Any member of the public may offer up to two minutes of public comment at these meetings or submit an eComment to [email protected].
Please see the timeline below for more information.
The timeline for transition was publicly shared at the July 21, 2021 board meeting. Members of the public may attend Board meetings in person, watch our live stream, or watch the recorded Board Meeting(s) at their convenience starting the day after each meeting. The live stream and board meeting recordings can be accessed here.
Have questions about NUSD’s transition to by-trustee area elections? Please email us at [email protected].