HomeCity NewsDistrict Will Change Board Elections to Even-Year Cycle

District Will Change Board Elections to Even-Year Cycle

State Requiring Municipalities In Effort To Increase Voter Turnout

The San Marino School Board heard the first reading of a resolution that, if approved, would change the established election cycle for board members from odd years to even years, effective January 1, 2018.

The City of San Marino must also follow the new guidelines unless it can prove that odd-year elections have not been adversely affected.

By doing so, the board would add one year to each of their terms. Currently, the four-year terms of President Nam Jack, Shelley Ryan and Joseph Chang are set to expire in 2017 while the terms of Lisa Link and Chris Norgaard will be finished in 2019. If the resolution is approved, Jack, Ryan and Chang will term out on 2018 and Link and Norgaard in 2020.

The resolution is in response to California Senate Bill 415, which requires school districts to hold their governing board elections on the same date as statewide elections, if holding it on another date has previously resulted in a significant decrease in voter turnout.

Significant decrease in voter turnout is described as voter turnout at least 25 percent less than the average voter turnout for the previous four statewide general elections. Superintendent Dr. Alex Cherniss showed data on an overhead projector that San Marino’s voter turnout at a rate of 42 percent less during odd-numbered year elections.

“Per SB 415, the board of education and other local municipalities must adopt a plan that addresses voter participation by January 1, 2018,” Cherniss told The Tribune. “This plan will require board elections to be moved to even-year election cycles if voter participation does not meet a specific threshold during odd-numbered year elections. I can say with certainly that school board elections in odd-numbered years do not meet that threshold and we must move them to even-numbered years.”

Cherniss said the district must have a plan adopted by January 1, 2018 and the elections must be moved to even-numbered years by 2022.

“To be crystal clear, we are doing this to comply with the state law, correct?” Jack asked, to which Cherniss replied, “Yes.”

“I find it interesting, but having the elections in the odd year allows voters to focus more on the board elections, instead of a full ballot,” said Link. “But they did not consult me. I am uncomfortable that the board has to vote to increase our terms.”

The school board will vote on the resolution after it receives its second reading. If approved, the resolution must be submitted to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors by June 30 prior to an election.

The school board also welcomed San Marino High School’s National Merit Semifinalists, who provided brief introductions and told the audience which colleges they hope to attend.

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