September 17, 2009 - Vote on election rules, trustees say
Paper: Orange County Register, The ( Santa Ana, CA)
Title: Vote on election rules, trustees say
Date: September 17, 2009
Author: SCOTT MARTIINDALE ; The Orange County Register
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
A parent-led initiative to change the way trustees are elected in the Capistrano Unified School District is likely to come before voters for approval next year, after the school board on Tuesday decided against changing the rules on its own.
The district might have to spend upward of $500,000 to bring the initiative before Capistrano Unified's approximately 214,000 registered voters, but trustees said the alternative would be worse.
"To me, voting is the most foundational, fundamental right we have," trustee Anna Bryson said.
The parents group is seeking to change Capistrano's rules so voters elect one trustee to represent their geographical area, instead of voting for all seven in an at-large election. But the group – which gathered 1,200 petition signatures supporting the change – wanted the board to make the change on its own to save money.
To do that, the school board would have to request a waiver from the state Board of Education to cancel the ballot initiative.
"Please stay focused on the waiver and how much money our district can save – hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be spent elsewhere," said San Juan Capistrano parent Erin Kutnick, who is leading the effort.
But trustees on Tuesday voted 5-2 to quash pursuit of a waiver, with trustees Jack Brick and Sue Palazzo dissenting. "The problem with putting that waiver in is that it doesn't give a chance for the voters to determine if they want this change or not," trustee Larry Christensen said.
The parents group had backing from several of Capistrano's major stakeholders, including the teachers union, classified employees union and the association representing administrators.
Several at Tuesday's meeting wore stickers that read "My vote: YES: Waiver."
While Capistrano's school board has influence over the waiver process, it does not get to decide if or when the parent-led initiative comes before voters. That will be decided by an 11-member county committee later this month.
Dateline: SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
Record Number: 198554265
Copyright 2009 The Orange County Register