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June 22
1972 - Vasquez Rocks added to National Register of Historic Places [list]
Vasquez Rocks


robchallinorThere are more than 1,000 school districts in California serving approximately 6.2 million students, and each district has a locally elected Governing Board that sets policy for their district. The board’s job is to set policy that is both compliant with all federal and state laws as well as reflective of the community’s values.

 

Balancing Legal Compliance with Local Values

We are fortunate to have a Governing Board that is both vigilant in its efforts to study current and emerging laws, which helps protect the Wm. S. Hart Union High School District from unnecessary and costly legal challenges, and dedicated to listening closely to the entire school community to ensure that all applicable laws and policies are implemented in a manner strictly reflective of staff, parent and community expectations of our schools.

 

Policy Balancing Act: Latest Example

Recently the Hart Board took action to modify the process by which future board elections will take place in our District, beginning with the November 2015 election.

The Board approved a Resolution on July 16, 2014 giving staff direction to begin moving from at-large voting to trustee area voting.  Currently, when voters cast their ballot in a Hart District school board election, they vote for the candidate(s) of their choice, which is referred to as at-large voting.  By moving to trustee-area voting, voters will be required to choose from candidates that live in the respective trustee area in which they reside.

As background, the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), which was signed into law in 2002, seeks to ensure that underrepresented groups are not intentionally or unintentionally denied the opportunity to secure elected positions.

The CVRA has promoted a great deal of legal action and policy discussion throughout the state. The Hart Board took this proactive step to avoid a potential legal challenge and to honor the law’s intention, which is to ensure that underrepresented groups are not denied the opportunity to elect candidates and pass measures of their choice.

Voter trustee areas are determined through a demographic study.  This study and the corresponding maps, outlining trustee areas, must be presented to the Hart Board for discussion and subsequent approval in a public meeting.

I want to assure our community that these meetings will be publicized in advance, and we encourage people to attend to offer public comment on the process and express their opinions.

Hearing from you ensures that your Board can consider your thoughts and values.  And again, I stress that implementing policy in a manner reflective of this community’s expressed values is of paramount importance to our Board.

The bottom line is while this action will affect the way people vote, it will not alter the way the District is governed. While it is true that Governing Board candidates will be elected by trustee areas, I am confident they will continue to provide direction and oversight that is in the best interest of the entire District.

As CVRA is discussed throughout the state, concerns have been expressed that trustees will be motivated to show loyalty to one area of their district and its specific schools. But, from my experience in the Hart District, I can assure you this will not be the case.

Our school community has placed their trust and faith in the Hart Board to act as a cohesive team, committed to serving the best interest of all students and staff. I am fully confident the Board  will continue to govern with hearts and minds committed to serving all students.

Shifting to trustee area voting is a multi-phase process that began with approval of the Resolution by the Hart Board authorizing and initiating the transition.  Each of the phases, including discussion of the voting areas and District map, will be studied and discussed by the Board in public meetings.  We encourage all interested to attend these meetings.

 

Robert Challinor is superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District.

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1 Comment

  1. jim soliz says:

    I wish to thank Superintendent Rob Challinor and the Hart Board for their efforts in facilitating the smooth transition from the “At Large” voting method to the more equitable method of “District voting” as specified in the California Voter Rights Act of 2002.

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