BY DYLAN MIARS
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, there was an election in Redlands, as well as recent changes to the election process. While all of America voted on the fate of the presidency, the citizens of Redlands also had the opportunity to vote on new members of the Redlands Unified School District Board of Education. Three spots were contested in this election. Richard Haller, Vice President, and Ron McPeck, member, were the incumbents for this election. Neil Waner, a member of the Board, resigned from the board, creating the the third spot availability.
There were eight people on the ballot. The vote was evenly split between all candidates, excluding one outlier. Alex Vara, James O’ Neill, Shaheen Emmanuel Lakhan, Mario Saucedo, Ensen Mason, Richard Haller, Ron McPeck, and Cristina Puraci shared a total of 61,754 votes, with Alex Vara, Cristina Puraci, and James O’ Neill winning the spots on the board. The positions are unknown and are to be determined
The district’s website provides an explanation to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA): Transition to by-Trustee Area voting:
”Recently, many cities, school districts and other public entities have had their election systems challenged under CVRA, leading to very expensive and divisive litigation. The Redlands Unified School District’s Board of Education’s preference is, and has always been, to avoid expenditures that do not directly benefit the children, families, and communities we serve. While RUSD believes its elections have not been racially polarized, a move to by-trustee area elections enables us to move forward without the potential of having to defend CVRA litigation in the future.”
This system of a trustee by trustee area brings about the division of the Redlands school district into equal and separate areas representing various communities of interests and subgroups, whereas trustees are chosen to vote on the new members of the Board of Education.
The website further states:
“District staff and the Board are committed to continuing to focus on the District’s core mission – providing the highest quality education for all of our students. The change in our system of electing trustees will not change the Board’s history and commitment to making decisions based on the interests of the entire District, regardless of where individual trustees happen to reside.“
More information of the efforts by the district to create a more egalitarian voting process and environment can be found on the Redlands School District website.