Districting for Sierra Joint Community College District Board of Trustees

Districting for Sierra Joint Community College District Board of Trustees

Sierra Joint Community College District is governed by a Board of Trustees, consisting of seven members made up of community professionals, business officials, and leading citizens. They offer their time and talent to ensure that Sierra College remains responsive to local community needs as well as true to its mission and vision.

The Board of Trustees are currently elected under a Hybrid At-Large election system, where trustees reside in designated trustee areas, and are elected by voters of the entire district. Under the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA), at-large elections, including hybrid at-large, are impermissible if they result in racially polarized voting or cause disenfranchisement of voters from a protected class. The only election system that provides complete protection from a CVRA claim is a by-trustee area election system. While the District has not received a CVRA claim, and does not believe that racially polarized voting has occurred, the Board has determined it is in the best interest of the community to transition to by-trustee area elections. The Board believes that this transition will help to promote meaningful voter involvement in the election of board members, and increase the ability of candidates to seek elected office. This transition will also ensure compliance with the CVRA and avoid the possibility of defending costly litigation.

At the September 14, 2021 Board meeting, the Board approved a resolution to initiate the transition to a By-Trustee Area election system, where each Board member must reside within the designated trustee area boundary, and is elected only by voters in that trustee area. Voters would only vote for one seat on the Board.

Also at the September 14, 2021 Board meeting, the District’s demographers, the National Demographics Corporation, presented information on the process and criteria for drawing the trustee-area boundary maps. The first public hearing was held to gather community input on the trustee area map creation process. A second public hearing is scheduled for the October 12, 2021 Board meeting, which will be held on the Nevada County Campus.

Following completion of the districting process, the District will be required to redistrict every ten years, beginning in 2031, based on new census data to ensure each trustee area is substantially equal in population such that each Trustee represents about the same number of constituents.

Input from the community is encouraged throughout the entire districting process. Comments are welcome at any of the scheduled public hearings or you may email the President’s Office at president@sierracollege.edu.

Proposed Timeline (subject to change)
Resolution of Intent and Initial Pre-Map Hearing #1 September 14, 2021
Initial Pre-Map Hearing #2 October 12, 2021
Draft Map Review Hearing #1 January 11, 2022
Draft Map Review Hearing #2 February 8, 2022
Map Adoption February 22, 2022
Board of Governors Approval March 21-22, 2022
Send maps to County Registrar of Voters March/April, 2022
Registrar's deadline to implement the map July 6, 2022
Election of trustees using newly adopted map November 8, 2022