WCCUSD announces partial settlement in lawsuit involving trustee elections

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WCCUSD announces partial settlement in lawsuit involving trustee elections
Kennedy High School of the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) will move to trustee area elections in 2020. Also, terms of office for the three seats up for election on the WCCUSD Board of Education this coming November will be reduced from the current four years to two years.

These changes were just approved by a Contra Costa County superior court judge as a partial settlement of the litigation against WCCUSD, which was accused early this year of violating the California Voting Rights Act and having a history of “racially polarized” voting due to its large election system. At-large elections unfairly advantage candidates in more affluent areas, according to plaintiffs.

A lawsuit was later filed to force the district to move to trustee-area elections. In March, the district board approved a resolution indicating its intent to make the change.

After creating a trustee map with input from five public hearings and other outreach efforts, the map was “rejected by the Contra Costa County Committee on School District Organization, leaving the district and the plaintiff to come to this agreement,” according to the district statement.

Moving forward, a map outlining trustee areas will need to be created, approved by the court and voted upon in the November 2020 election, the district said. Next steps will be discussed at the board’s Sept. 5 meeting.

In a statement, Board President Val Cuevas called the partial settlement “a significant and important step in helping our board reflect the communities we serve, especially historically underserved communities disenfranchised by unequal access to the political process.”

For a detailed report of the issue, check out this report from EdSource here.

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