Anaheim School District May Get Single-Member Districts…No Thanks to Jose Moreno

Jordan BrandmanI have noted on this blog numerous times of the disconnect between the lead plaintiff on the ACLU lawsuit seeking to force single-member districts on the Anaheim City Council while simultaneously doing nothing to bring them to the Anaheim City School District – in spite of the fact that the circumstance Jose Moreno says warrant them in the City of Anaheim are equally present in the ACSD.

Last night, a different advocate of single-member districts stepped forward to impel the ACSD to action. Anaheim City Councilman Jordan Brandman attended the meeting of the ASCD Board of Education. During public comments, he invoked Section 35145.5 of the California Education Code and requested of the Board that:

“the following two ACTION items be placed on the Anaheim City School District Board of Education Agenda for your next regularly scheduled meeting on January 27:

1. Adopt a revised Board policy to shift to By-Trustee/By-Governing Board Member Area/Single Member District elections for the November 2014 General Election, and 2. Adopt a resolution seeking a waiver from the California Department of Education of the requirement that board member areas and adoption of a By-Trustee/By-Governing Board Member Area/Single Member District election process be submitted to the electors for approval in November 2014, as set forth in Education Code Sections 5019, 5020, 5021, and 5030, inclusive.”

What that means is that Moreno and the rest of the ACSD Board cannot continue to dither on the issue of single-member districts for themselves. They probably will not be able to vote on January 27 due to legal requirements to hold a public hearing on the matter, but in all likelihood Moreno and some of his Board colleagues will have to seek re-election this year from single-member districts.

Following is the full text of Councilman Brandman’s statement to the ACSD Board:

Good Evening Honorable Trustees.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight. Jordan Brandman, 318 S. Ohio Street, Anaheim. I come before you tonight to ask that this Board move towards electing City School District Board Members under a Single Member District election process.

Last week, on January 7th, the Anaheim City Council unanimously approved settlement of the lawsuit brought under the California Voting Rights Act that challenged the current at-large method of electing Council members. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Anaheim residents will have the opportunity to vote in November for a Charter Amendment to implement a Single Member District Method of electing City Council Members.

A special note of gratitude to Dr. Moreno, who also served as the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. I am grateful we have reached an equitable agreement. I was heartened to read that the City School District would also be considering taking this action as was reported by the Orange County Register as part of its coverage of recent decisions by Anaheim Union High School District.

We should all applaud Anaheim Union for approving last week a waiver request to the State Department of Education that will allow them to move immediately to Single Member District elections for the November 2014 General Election. I could not be more pleased with this action given that I first called for moving to Single Member Districts more than a year ago when I was a Member of that Board of Trustees.

Full compliance with the California Voting Rights Act should be of the upmost importance to all of us and Anaheim City School District is also able to immediately move to Single Member District elections without voter approval.

Therefore, in accordance with Section 35145.5 of the California Education Code, I formally ask that the following two ACTION items be placed on the Anaheim City School District Board of Education Agenda for your next regularly scheduled meeting on January 27:
1. Adopt a revised Board policy to shift to By-Trustee/By-Governing Board Member Area/Single Member District elections for the November 2014 General Election, and;
2. Adopt a resolution seeking a waiver from the California Department of Education of the requirement that board member areas and adoption of a By-Trustee/By-Governing Board Member Area/Single Member District election process be submitted to the electors for approval in November 2014, as set forth in Education Code Sections 5019, 5020, 5021, and 5030, inclusive.

Single Member District can be easily put in place for the candidate filing period in July 2014 if the Board acts now and I am confident the Board will do so to give all Anaheim City School District voters the right to choose neighborhood candidates going forward.

Thank you.

No comments

  1. Whether the Anaheim City School District (ACSD) should adopt a single member district has received far too much press and attention. Shakespeare called it “much ado about nothing.” At least the blather is about nothing important.

    This debate is about electing school board members—and has nothing to do with education. If the ACSD were to become a single member district, how would education in the district change? NOTHING substantive would change.

    Would district goals or standards change? No. Would the superintendent become a less active and visible leader? No. Would the newly adopted Common Core State Standards go away? No. (If they would, I’d support almost any change. Creating a national curriculum is a very bad idea.)

    Whatever changes will occur if a single member district is created has nothing to do with helping students succeed in school. It’s all about the process for electing school board members. And that’s why all the verbiage is a huge waste. So much effort put into changing a system that won’t change anything. Better that energy be put to improving a thousand other factors that contribute to students.

    Yesterday, Council Member Jordan Brandman urged adopting a single member district. Would he or someone please identify one study that conforms to basic tenets of research design that shows students in a single member district are helped in any way because of the process used to elect school board members. I’m not holding my breath.

    • I agree with you, but that isn’t the point for me. The point is Jose Moreno has been a huge hypocrite who doesn’t hold himself to the same standard he applies for others. If he really thinks single member districts are so great, then he should run for re-election from one.

    • Amen, Hugh!

  2. Lifelong Anaheim resident

    To echo, Hugh’s comment, please post one study based on California cities where residents were better served by districts. This is political theatre for a handful of lawyers making a ridiculous sum of money. Nothing more.

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