San Diego measures for district-only school board elections, removing board members have sizable leads

The SDUSD board in April. Measure D, which would allow an easier way to remove trustees, is leading in early returns.
The San Diego Unified School District board at an April meeting. Measure D, which would allow an easier way to remove trustees, is leading in early returns.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Measure C would make San Diego Unified board elections pertain only to sub-districts; Measure D would add a way to remove school board members


Measure C, which would change San Diego Unified elections to be by sub-district only, has a sizable lead and is expected to pass.

Meanwhile, Measure D, which would allow an easier way to remove San Diego Unified board members, has a commanding lead and is also likely to pass.

Currently, all voters in San Diego Unified — which is split into five geographic sub-districts represented by a board member — vote on all five board members in the general election.

Measure C would change the general election so voters would vote only for their sub-district representative, which is how the City Council is elected.

Measure C supporters have argued it would make for a fairer election process, because voters would no longer be allowed to choose someone else’s representative. Proponents have also argued that at-large elections tend to favor certain candidates who have resources and big-name support and make it harder for people of color to get elected.

“This provides a fair and competitive foundation that will bring greater accountability for our schools,” said Tom Keliinoi, president of Parents for Quality Education, the group that spearheaded Measure C.

Some of Measure C’s opponents have argued that it would disenfranchise people of color because there are three board seats apportioned to areas north of Interstate 8 and two apportioned south of I-8, where schools have high percentages of students of color.

If Measure C passes, Keliinoi said he thinks the biggest impact Measure C could have on future school board elections is reducing the influence of special interests, particularly labor unions.

Measure D would add a school board member removal process that already exists for the City Council. If four of the board’s five members decide that cause exists to remove a member, then a districtwide removal election would be held.

City Councilmembers Chris Cate and Vivian Moreno created Measure D after four men accused current School Board Trustee Kevin Beiser of sexual harassment or sexual assault last year — allegations that Beiser denied.