El Segundo School Board Discusses Alignment of Board Election Cycle with Statewide Election Dates

Currently, the El Segundo Unified School District (ESUSD) school board election cycle is not in alignment with statewide election dates that are scheduled on even years. Elections Code sections 14050-14057 will require school board member elections to be scheduled with statewide general elections no later than November 2022 where voter participation in special local elections does not meet certain minimum thresholds. Following extensive consultation with legal counsel, the ESUSD Board of Education passed a resolution on September 27, 2016 to reschedule school board elections to “even-year elections” in order to enhance voter participation in school board elections; and achieve a cost savings to the District resulting from aligning the District’s elections with the statewide general elections.There are several important issues that come into play regarding school board election cycle scheduled in odd numbered years.

First off, the school district incurs a much greater cost to conduct the election in an odd year as there are fewer items on the ballot.

  1. Over the past several years most special districts in Los Angeles County have migrated their election cycle to the November of even numbered years.
  2. Thereby leaving fewer special districts to share the cost of reimbursing the Los Angeles County Clerk’s office for its election costs in odd numbered years thereby causing a significant increase in the amount each special district has had to reimburse the County for its odd numbered year election.
  3. This situation was certainly the case for school board election in November 2015. The actual election cost was more than double previous election costs of $30,000, at a cost of $71,000 to ESUSD.
Statewide elections result in a greater voter turnout. SB 415 references the importance of ensuring a greater voter turnout. Failing to align could lead to a voter filing an action against the school district.

The current election cycle of Governing Board members of the ESUSD  is every two (2) years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of odd years (e.g., November 2017 and November 2019) while statewide general elections are held in California only in June and November of even years (e.g., November 2016).

 

Recommendation

Following extensive consultation with legal counsel, the superintendent recommended that the ESUSD Board of Education pass a resolution on September 27, 2016 to reschedule school board elections to “even-year elections” in order to enhance voter participation in school board elections; and achieve a cost savings to the District resulting from aligning the District’s elections with the statewide general elections.

 

Impact to Board Member Terms

Board approval of a resolution would add one additional year of service to each Board member’s term.

  • Garza, Layne and Watkins would move from November 2017 to November 2018
  • Cobb and Nishime would move from November 2019 to November 2020

 

Legal Basis for Action

This action is permissible as outlined in Elections Code section 1302(b) which establishes a procedure whereby the Board may change the election date for its Board members by adopting a resolution seeking approval of the change by the Board of Supervisors of the affected county (Elections Code section 10405.5).