Montebello Unified Victorious in Election Date Case
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of the Montebello Unified School District in its case against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors that allows the District to push back upcoming school board elections to comply with a new state law calling for even-year elections.
In order to comply with Senate Bill 415, which requires elections be held on a statewide, even-year election date, the Montebello Unified Board voted to move the November 2017 and 2019 elections up a year to 2018 and 2020, respectively.
After upset residents approached the County Board of Supervisors, the body then voted against Montebello Unified’s request to move election dates.
In response to the denial, the District filed a lawsuit against the County and the Board of Supervisors. The District pursued a writ of mandate that alleged that County Supervisors acted beyond its lawful jurisdiction in failing to approve the MUSD’s resolution at its February 14, 2017 meeting.
The a Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the District, supporting the position that the County’s denial was arbitrary, capricious and entirely lacking in evidentiary support.
“The judge’s ruling today was clearly a victory for the Montebello Unified School District, its parents, students and stakeholders,” said Board President Dr. Lani Cupchoy. “The Board stands firm on its vision to safeguard and improve the quality of education for all its students, from the most vulnerable to the high achieving, as they remain our number one priority.”
Key in the judge’s ruling was a County Clerk determination that a November even-year consolidation of the MUSD election would not surpass 75 percent of average ballot capacity, and would not create a voting system issue. In fact, the County Clerk had recommended approval of the MUSD’s resolution.
“In keeping with the intent of SB 415, the Board of Education passed a resolution earlier this year to consolidate its elections with the sole intent to comply with the new state law, provide continuity and provide for larger civic participation,” said Board member Benjamin Cardenas. “Today’s ruling, coupled with the results of the forensic audit, which I called for in December of last year, will go a long way in creating stability, continuity, and transparency for the District.”