Members of the Lake Tahoe Unified School District school board voted unanimously Tuesday to move governing board elections to even years and to establish trustee district areas.
The motions will put the district and the Lake Tahoe Community College in compliance with the 2001 California Voting Rights Act, a law designed to help ensure that minorities receive fair representation in district elections.
More school districts throughout California are switching to by-trustee-area elections after a spate of lawsuits arguing that local processes block Latinos from office.
"There are many lawsuits currently pending regarding this issue, and we're just not in a position to get sued," board President Wendy David said.
LTUSD and LTCC would designate five trustee boundaries for the next election. One member of the five-person school board would be elected from each of the districts, a process that will replace the at-large elections.
The current school board already represents four of the five future district boundaries, according to board member Larry Green. The only district without an elected official is the Bijou community outlined in green on the new trustee area map.
"We'll have to do more recruitment to get people from all the areas to run," Green said at Tuesday's meeting.
The odd-year elections will be consolidated to occur on the same date as even-year general elections. The switch will save money and encourage higher voter turnout, LTUSD Superintendent James Tarwater said.
If approved by the county board of supervisors, current members' terms would be extended by one year. The terms of David and board clerk Barbara Bannar would expire in 2014 instead of in December.