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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Special District

San Diego Unified School District
Measure D Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

384,536 votes yes (85.7%)

64,416 votes no (14.3%)

CHARTER AMENDMENT: PROCEDURES TO REMOVE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS FOR CAUSE AND TO FILL VACANCIES. Shall the City Charter be amended to include the office of School Board member from the San Diego Unified School District under City laws that address removal of elected officials for cause, filling vacancies in elected office, and succession to office?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by Source: League of Women Voters San Diego

The Question

Should the City Charter include a procedure for the removal and replacement of San Diego Unified School District Board Members for cause (dereliction of duty or malfeasance), just as it does for Mayor, City Attorney, and City Councilmembers?

The Situation

Current Law

 

City Charter section 66 governs the election procedures when there is a vacancy on the School Board, but does not define what constitutes a vacancy, nor does it provide for the removal of School Board members.

Although City Charter sections 300, 301 and 302 provide procedures for the election, removal and succession of Mayor, City Attorney and Councilmembers, they do not reference School Board members.

Context

An incident in 2019 brought to the attention of the San Diego City Council that there is no procedure to remove and replace a Board member for cause.

The Proposal

This measure would subject San Diego Unified School District Board Members to the same legal procedures to remove and replace other elected officials (Mayor, City Attorney, and Councilmembers) for cause, in situations of dereliction of duty or malfeasance in office. 

  • Dereliction of duty means an adjudication that the School Board member failed, refused, or neglected to perform the duties of office except when prevented by illness or a reasonable cause. 
  • Malfeasance means a member was convicted for crimes of moral turpitude or crimes involving a violation of official duties. 

Three-fourths of the School Board members would need to vote that cause exists to remove the member, and a special election would be held in which voters would be asked to decide whether to remove and replace the School Board member.

 

 

Fiscal effect

There is no fiscal impact associated with these Charter amendments.

Supporters say

 

  • The City Charter should protect the public from politicians who abuse their office by committing serious crimes or failing to perform their duties.

  • The City Charter amendments incorporate best practices used by other major cities regarding the removal of elected officials.

  • This measure reduces the need for a costly and time consuming recall if a Board member refuses to resign.

These arguments have not been checked for factual accuracy by any official entity.

Opponents say

No arguments against the measure were filed in the Office of the City Clerk.

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Summary

San Diego City Attorney's Office / San Diego City Clerk

BALLOT TITLE

Charter Amendments to Provide Procedures for Filling Vacancies, Removal for Cause, and Succession to Office for Members of the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education.

BALLOT SUMMARY

This measure would amend the San Diego City Charter (Charter) to bring members of the Board of Education of the San Diego Unified School District (School Board) under City laws that provide procedures to remove elected officials for cause, to fill vacancies, and to govern succession to the office.

The Charter currently includes similar vacancy, removal, and succession laws for the City's elective offices of Mayor, City Attorney, and member of the City Council (Council). The California Constitution allows Charter cities like San Diego to include such provisions affecting School Board members in a city's charter.

Amendments to Charter section 66 (Board of Education) would provide references to how School Board seats will be filled after a vacancy, refer to other laws to be added by this measure, and make minor clarifying edits to the section.

Amendments to Charter section 300 (Vacancy in Elective Office), section 301 (Removal for Cause), and section 302 (Succession to Elective Office) add the office of School Board member to existing laws, with certain modifications to conform to procedures of the San Diego Unified School District (School District).

To be approved, the measure requires the affirmative vote of a majority of those qualified electors voting on the measure and registered to vote within the geographic boundaries of the School District.

The measure was proposed by Councilmember Chris Cate and Councilmember Vivian Moreno during a process in which Councilmembers submitted ballot measure proposals for consideration by a Council standing committee and then the full Council. The measure was considered in multiple hearings before the Council voted to place the measure on the ballot. If approved, the Charter would be amended after the amendments are chaptered by the California Secretary of State.

Voters may note that Charter section 66 is the subject of a separate Charter amendment measure on the November 3, 2020, ballot that would establish district-only elections for hte School Board. The amendments to Charter section 66 that are proposed in the two measures are not in conflict; each involves separate subjects requiring separate approval. The amendments in both measures are identical in part. If both measures are approved by the voters, the City of San Diego intends for both sets of amendments to Charter section 66 to take effect and to be submitted for chaptering by the California Secretary of State.

 

https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/impartialtitlesummaryfiscalcombined-november2020.pdf#page=19

Background

San Diego City Attorney's Office / San Diego City Clerk

The City Council adopted San Diego Ordinance O-21217 on July 14, 2020 to submit the Charter amendment measure to voters on the November 3,2020 Municipal Special Election ballot.

 

https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/impartialtitlesummaryfiscalcombined-november2020.pdf#page=19

Impartial analysis / Proposal

San Diego City Attorney's Office / San Diego City Clerk

CITY ATTORNEY’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS

The California Constitution authorizes charter cities that include school districts to provide for “the manner in which, the times at which, and the terms for which the members of boards of education shall be elected or appointed, for their qualifications, compensation and removal, and for the number which shall constitute any one of such boards.” Cal. Cont. art. IX, § 16(a). This is the limit of a charter city’s authority over a school board.

This ballot measure would amend the San Diego City Charter (Charter) to add procedures related to the elected members of the Board of Education (School Board) of the San Diego Unified School District (School District). If approved, amendments would bring School Board members under existing City laws providing procedures to remove elected officials for cause, fill vacancies in their seats, and govern succession to the office.

Four Charter sections would be amended:

  • Section 66 (Board of Education) governs the composition and elections of the School Board. Amendments refer to the proposed new laws in the measure, stating that they address when a vacancy in the office of School Board member is deemed to occur, and when a School Board member shall be removed for cause. Amendments state that vacancies shall be filled as provided in the section, which includes election procedures. Amendments also include minor edits for consistency with other Charter sections.

  • Section 300 (Vacancy in Elective Office) provides procedures when a vacancy occurs in the office for reasons including death, residency issues, incapacity, removal, certain convictions, or resignation. A School Board member is no longer eligible to serve if the member ceases to be a resident and elector of the subdistrict the member was elected to represent. A member’s resignation would be effective on the date specified in a resignation letter, or, if there is no date, upon the date the letter is received by the School District’s Board Action Officer.

  • Section 301 (Removal for Cause) provides procedures to remove a School Board member for cause for dereliction of duty or malfeasance in office. Dereliction of duty means an adjudication that the School Board member failed, refused, or neglected to perform the duties of the office, except when prevented by illness, injury, or other reasonable cause. Malfeasance in office means the School Board member was convicted for crimes of moral turpitude or crimes involving a violation of official duties. If at least three-fourths of the School Board members vote that cause exists to remove the member, the School Board would cause a special election to be held. Voters would be asked to decide whether to remove and replace the School Board member.

  • Section 302 (Succession to Elective Office) refers to Charter procedures that would apply for a new School Board member to succeed to the office.

This measure related to the School District has been submitted to voters registered to vote within School District boundaries, as required by the California Constitution. If approved, amendments would take effect after they are chaptered by the California Secretary of State.

 

https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/impartialtitlesummaryfiscalcombined-november2020.pdf#page=20

Financial effect

Source: City of San Diego Independent Budget Analyst (IBA) / San Diego City Clerk

FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR CITY MEASURE ON NOVEMBER 3, 2020 BALLOT

MEASURE [D]. CHARTER AMENDMENT: PROCEDURES TO REMOVE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS FOR CAUSE AND TO FILL VACANCIES

This measure would amend San Diego City Charter (Charter) sections 300, 301, and 302 to add the elective office of member of the Board of Education (School Board) of the San Diego Unified School District (School District) to City laws that provide procedures for the elective officer's removal for cause, filling a vacancy in the seat, and addressing succession in office. The measure would also amend Charter section 66, Board of Education, to address filling a vacancy on the School Board.

There is no fiscal impact associated with these Charter amendments.

 

https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/impartialtitlesummaryfiscalcombined-november2020.pdf#page=23

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE D

THERE IS NO WAY TO REMOVE A SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER CONVICTED OF A CRIME

In 2019, four of the five board members of the San Diego Unified School District called for the resignation of one of their own members following allegations from four individuals in politics that he sexually harassed or assaulted them.

But even if a school board member were convicted of a crime, there is no way for the school board to remove them.

Measure D changes this process.

In 2016, voters overwhelmingly approved Measure E, a process for how the Mayor, City Attorney, and City Councilmembers can be removed from office. However, San Diego Unified School Board Members were inadvertently left out.

Previously, the City Charter only allowed for the removal of elected officials by resignation or recall. The recall process is extremely costly and time consuming.

Measure E set up a process to remove elected officials who are convicted of felonies and other serious crimes, those who become physically or mentally incapacitated, and/or those who are derelict in their official duties.

The changes incorporated best practices used by other major cities regarding the removal of elected officials from office.

Measure D would apply this same process to school board members.

WE NEED TO ACT NOW, BEFORE THE NEXT SCANDAL

Our City Charter should protect voters from politicians who abuse their office by committing crimes.

We need to have a process set up before these scandals occur, so we can respond quickly.

School board members shouldn’t hold public office if they are convicted of serious crimes.

MEASURE D PROTECTS THE PUBLIC FROM POLITICIANS WHO ARE CONVICTED OF CRIMES BUT REFUSE TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND RESIGN.

VOTE YES ON MEASURE D

/signed/

CHRIS CATE
Councilmember

RICARDO DANIEL CASTILLO
Retired City Heights Teacher
Retired Navy

VIVIAN MORENO
Councilmember

FRANCINE MAXWELL
President, NAACP San Diego Branch

 

https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/ballotmeasureargumentsnovember2020.pdf#page=8

— Source: San Diego City Clerk

Arguments AGAINST

No argument against the measure was filed in the Office of the City Clerk.

— Source: San Diego City Clerk

More information

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Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Measure D

Organizations (2)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Measure D
Organizations (0)
Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

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