ENCINITAS — The San Dieguito Union High School District has pre-emptively opened discussions about transitioning from its current at-large elections to elections by trustee district.
The school board at its Sept. 14 meeting agreed to explore the concept of changing its election system after hearing a report from Superintendent Eric Dill and the district’s contract law firm about recent challenges faced by adjacent jurisdictions over how their officials are elected.
Trustees will now host a special meeting Sept. 27 to continue the discussion.
Kevin Shenkman, an attorney with the Malibu-based law firm Shenkman & Hughes, has targeted several cities and school districts across the region, arguing that their current electoral process — where voters select their representatives in citywide elections — disenfranchises Latino voters.
Encinitas is among the cities that has started the process of changing their electoral systems.
SDUHSD has not received any legal threats, Dill wrote in the staff report, “but since neighboring cities and districts have been subject to these threats, it may be more beneficial to begin the process to consider converting to sub-districts to have more control over the timing of the process prior to the next election.”
The rest of the presentation was prepared by the district’s law firm, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP, and outlines the process for the district to create a “by-trustee area” election system.
The big difference between cities and school districts is that a school district would have to put the new electoral proposal and map up to a public vote unless the state grants a waiver. In the case of a city or county, the elected council makes the decision.