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Difference between revisions of "California school districts"

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==School board elections==
==School board elections==
===Upcoming elections===
===Upcoming elections===
: See also: [[List of school board elections in 2013]]
: ''See also: [[California school board elections, 2014]]''
In 2013, 47 of the top enrollment school districts in California held elections for a total of 144 school board seats across the state. In 2014, 136 top enrollment school districts in California will hold elections for a total of 391 seats. [[Long Beach Unified School District, California|Long Beach Unified School District]] and [[Twin Rivers Unified School District, California|Twin Rivers Unified School District]] will hold their elections on June 3, 2014. The other 134 elections will be held on November 4, 2014.
In 2014, 136 top enrollment school districts in California will hold elections for a total of 391 seats. [[Long Beach Unified School District, California|Long Beach Unified School District]] and [[Twin Rivers Unified School District, California|Twin Rivers Unified School District]] will hold their elections on June 3, 2014. The other 134 elections will be held on November 4, 2014.
===Path to the ballot===
===Path to the ballot===

Revision as of 10:16, 13 February 2014

School Board badge.png
List of school districts in California

State profile
Number of students: 6,220,993
Number of schools: 10,296
Number of school districts: 1,043
Graduation rate: 78.5%
Per-pupil spending: $8,382
State school administration
State Superintendent: Tom Torlakson
State Board President: Michael Kirst
State Board Members: 11
Table of Contents
Quick facts
State law
School board elections
External links
See also
School boards and school board elections
List of school districts in California
Flag of California.png

California is home to 1,043 school districts, 10,296 schools and 6,220,993 K-12 students.[1]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson
  • State Board of Education:
    • Dr. Michael Kirst, President
    • Dr. Ilene Straus, Vice President
    • Tom Torlakson, Executive Officer and Secretary
    • Sue Burr
    • Dr. Carl A. Cohn
    • Bruce Holaday
    • Dr. Aida Molina
    • Patricia Ann Rucker
    • Dr. Nicolasa Sandoval
    • Trish Boyd Williams
    • Josephine Kao, Student Member

Enrollment, academics, and spending

The following table displays the top ten California school districts by total student enrollment, Academic Performance Index (API) scores, and per-pupil spending per Average Daily Attendance (ADA).[2][3][4]

Student enrollment Academic Performance Index scores Per-pupil spending per ADA
1.) Los Angeles Unified 1.) Hillsborough City 1.) New Jerusalem
2.) San Diego Unified 2.) Woodside Elementary 2.) Spencer Valley Elementary
3.) Long Beach Unified 3.) Los Altos 3.) Big Sur Unified
4.) Fresno Unified 4.) Saratoga Union Elementary 4.) Mineral
5.) Elk Grove Unified 5.) Orinda Union Elementary 5.) Indian Springs Elementary
6.) Santa Ana Unified 6.) Santa Clara Elementary 6.) Sausalito Marin City
7.) San Francisco Unified 7.) Lakeside Joint 7.) Kashia Elementary
8.) San Bernardino City Unified 8.) Las Lomitas Elementary 8.) Belridge
9.) Corona-Norco Unified 9.) Moraga 9.) La Grange
10.) Capistrano Unified 10.) Reed Union Elementary 10.) Feather Falls Union Elementary


The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in California.[1]

Ethnicity Number of students Percentage
Hispanic or Latino 3,236,942 52.03%
White not Hispanic 1,626,507 26.15%
Asian 535,829 8.61%
African American not Hispanic 406,089 6.53%
Filipino 157,640 2.53%
Two or More Races Not Hispanic 130,947 2.10%
None Reported 49,556 0.80%
American Indian or Alaska Native 42,539 0.68%
Pacific Islander 34,944 0.56%

State law

School board composition

California school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to county boards of education and to fill vacancies until the next election for the seat is held. California school board elections typically follow one of these three methods, or a mixture thereof:[5]

  • At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
  • Trustee area: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
  • Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.

School boards can consist of three, five or seven members.[5] School board members serve four year terms, which are often staggered every two years.[5]

District types

California contains multiple types of school districts. The most prevalent are Unified districts (K-12), which contain both elementary and high schools, Elementary districts (K-6 or K-8), which contain only elementary schools and High School districts (9-12), which contain only high schools.

Parent trigger law

On January 7, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the nation's first "parent trigger" education reform bill into law.[6] A parent trigger allows parents to intervene in the administration of an academically failing school in order to make substantive changes. These changes include the ability to replace school personnel related to the poor academic performance of the school, the ability to convert the school into a charter school and the ability to close the school.[7]

In order to enact a parent trigger, a majority of parents with children enrolled in or about to matriculate into the academically failing school must sign a petition to that effect. Up to 75 schools can be the subject of a single parent trigger petition. Parents involved in the parent trigger petition must disclose any financial or organizational support received for their effort, and charter school conversion advocates are forbidden from donating to the effort.[7] In California, a school must fail to meet Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks for three consecutive years and also be in "corrective action" status for one year under the No Child Left Behind Act to be at risk of action under a parent trigger.[7]

California's parent trigger law has been invoked three times in the Los Angeles Unified School District, once in the Adelanto School District and once in the Compton Unified School District.[8] Efforts to invoke parent trigger laws proved controversial in all three school districts, and both the Adelanto and Compton petitions are being legally challenged by parent trigger law opponents.[9][10][11] Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, three public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District were the first to undergo changes through the use of California's parent trigger law.[12]

Term limits

California does not impose statewide term limits on school board members.[13] However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: California school board elections, 2014

In 2014, 136 top enrollment school districts in California will hold elections for a total of 391 seats. Long Beach Unified School District and Twin Rivers Unified School District will hold their elections on June 3, 2014. The other 134 elections will be held on November 4, 2014.

Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in California, a person must be:[5]

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A citizen of California
  • A resident of the school district
  • A registered voter in California
  • Not a current employee of the school district
  • Not disqualified by the California state constitution or laws from holding civil office

On July 23, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 4210 into law, which bans convicted felons from running for office in California.[14]

The process of running for office as a school board candidate begins with filing a "declaration of candidacy" form at the local county elections office.[5] This form must be filed between 113 and 88 days before the election is held.[5] Candidates may also be required to submit a filing fee to the county elections office or a petition with nominating signatures in order to be put on the ballot, but these rules vary from school district to school district and are not uniform across California.[5] On the ballot, candidates are listed using a randomized alphabetical order, due to state courts ruling that standard alphabetical or incumbent-first ordering are unconstitutional.[15]

California distributes a voter's guide to all registered voters in the school district prior to the election, and candidates may include a candidate statement in this voter's guide. This usually requires candidates to pay another fee to the county elections office, but some school districts will assume the cost of this candidate statement filing fee for all school board candidates in the district.[5]

Campaign finance

California requires school board candidates who spend or receive more than $1,000 for their campaign to file a campaign finance report detailing their expenditures, loan repayments, contributions and loans received to their local county elections office.[5]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 California Department of Education, "Fingertip Facts on Education in California - CalEdFacts," accessed July 25, 2013
  2. California Department of Education, "Largest & Smallest Public School Districts - CalEdFacts," accessed July 26, 2013
  3. Ed-Data, "Compare Districts - Highest/Lowest," accessed July 26, 2013
  4. California Department of Education - School Fiscal Services Division, "2011–12 Current Expense Per Average Daily Attendance (ADA)," January 29, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 California School Boards Association, "School Board Leadership," accessed July 26, 2013
  6. California Legislative Information, "SBX5-4 Public schools: Race to the Top.(2009-2010)," accessed July 26, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 National Conference of State Legislatures, "Parent Trigger Laws in the States," accessed July 26, 2013
  8. Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, 89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio, "LA Unified school board member wants changes to California's Parent Trigger Law," June 17, 2013
  9. Natasha Lindstrom, McClatchy, "California’s ‘parent trigger’ law tested in L.A. school decision," April 9, 2013
  10. Jennifer Medina, The New York Times, "‘Parent Trigger’ Law to Reform Schools Faces Challenges," September 23, 2011
  11. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, "Mojave Desert parents go back to court over charter school issue," August 28, 2012
  12. Natasha Lindstrom, Time, "With ‘Parent Trigger’ Laws on the Ropes, Three Overhauled Schools Reopen in Los Angeles," July 26, 2013
  13. National School Boards Association, "Survey of the State School Boards Associations on Term Limits for Local Board Members," October, 2006
  14. Rick Orlov, The Daily News, "New law: Convicted felons can't run for office in California," July 23, 2012
  15. California Secretary of State, "Randomized Alphabet," accessed July 26, 2013