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Trustee Area Elections

Welcome and Overview

San Rafael City Schools has changed the way that Board of Education members are elected. Previously, Board members were elected "at-large," where each member is elected by voters throughout the District’s territory. Under the new system, the Board members will be elected by-trustee-area; they will be required to live in the area they represent and will be elected only by the registered voters of that area. The new system begin starting with the SRCS Board of Education election in November 2020. 


Starting with the November 2020 election, the District moved from an “at-large” election system to a “by-trustee area” election system to elect members of the San Rafael City Schools Board of Education. Voters now elect District Board members based on the specific area in which the voter lives. When the District made this switch, it adopted a boundary map for these trustee areas that was based on the census data available at that time.  

The release of the 2020 Census data triggered the need to examine, and potentially re-draw, the trustee areas based on population changes. In working with its demographer, the Board determined that it needs to make adjustments to the current trustee area boundaries to maintain the required population balance. View the Board presentation for more information.

The Board completed its review of adjustments by March 1, 2022. The adjustments were to Trustee Areas 1 and 2 in the northern area of SRCS, and Trustee Areas 4 and 5 in the southeastern area of SRCS.

Please note that the adjustments to trustee areas will not affect attendance boundaries or otherwise impact which school students attend.

Click here to view the final, approved map.





At its meeting on 8/26/19, the Board selected and adopted "Map 110," which identifies the trustee area boundaries and the associated election sequence. The action followed a public mapping process that included a series of public hearings and community sessions. 


The final Public Hearing for SRCS' transition to trustee area elections is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 26 in the SRCS Board Room (310 Nova Albion Way) at 6 pm. 

At the Aug. 26 Board meeting, the District's demographers reviewed the final maps that were being considered. After public input and Board discussion, the Board adopted Map 110 and the associated election sequence. Click here to preview the presentation. 


The final Public Hearings for SRCS' transition to trustee area elections are scheduled for Monday, Aug. 12 and Monday, Aug. 26 in the SRCS Board Room (310 Nova Albion Way) at 6 pm. 

At the Aug. 12 meeting, the District's demographers, National Demographics Corporation, will review the 19 maps that have been submitted and will discuss suggested groupings, with the goal of narrowing down to two or three "focus" maps. There will be the opportunity for the public to provide input regarding the composition of potential trustee area boundaries. Click here to preview the presentation.  

All maps that will be presented are posted below.

NOTES: You can also view all maps in the Interactive Map Resource. New or revised maps must be submitted by August 14. 
Additionally at the Aug. 12 meeting, the Board will hold public hearing as part of its process to request a waiver from the State Board of Education. Under the Education Code, final adoption of by-trustee area elections (following approval by the Board and the Marin County Committee on School District Organization) would turn on an election among District voters. Such an election, however, can be costly and delay implementation of the election system. Likely for this reason, over 200 school districts that have made this transition have sought, and been granted, a waiver from the State Board of the provisions that require an election. 

The SRCS Board's Aug. 12 public hearing is to gather input prior to consideration of the resolution requesting such a waiver from the State Board. While the Board is still in the process of transitioning to by-trustee areas, it is considering the waiver request resolution at this time to provide the State Board sufficient time to consider the request.

All meetings are open to all community members and stakeholders. Spanish interpreting will be provided.


New or revised maps must be submitted by August 14.


The following maps have been submitted for review and comment. Click to view:


Posted 8/19/19

Posted 8/13/19

Posted 7/29/19

Posted 7/15/19

Posted 7/12/19

Posted 6/17/19

The District’s demographer, National Demographics Corporation, has created initial draft maps for review and consideration. 



Attend an Upcoming Session! The Board is undertaking a mapping process to define the trustee areas, and we need your help! 

SRCS is committed to transparency and encourages residents and stakeholders to participate. All people will be heard! All comments will be recorded and considered.

Public Hearings
The community is invited to attend and comment on draft maps. All public hearings will take place at SRCS Board meetings. Spanish interpreting will be provided.

  • COMPLETE: June 24, SRCS Board Room, 310 Nova Albion Way, 6 pm
  • COMPLETE: July 15, SRCS Board Room, 310 Nova Albion Way, 6 pm
  • COMPLETE: August 12, SRCS Board Room, 310 Nova Albion Way, 6 pm
  • COMPLETE: August 26, SRCS Board Room, 310 Nova Albion Way, 6 pm

Community Forums
These events will include a presentation about the process and an interactive workshop for attendees to provide input on the latest maps. All meetings are open to all community members and stakeholders. Spanish interpreting will be provided.

  • COMPLETE: June 18, Bahia Vista Elementary Multipurpose Room, 6:30 - 8 pm
  • COMPLETE: July 17, Venetia Valley Library, 6:30 - 8 pm
  • COMPLETE: July 29, Davidson Middle School Library, 6:30 - 8 pm

In addition to the sessions and opportunities described above, the District is able to provide informational presentations for community groups and organizations. To request a presentation, please contact or 415-492-3233.

Additionally, members of the SRCS community are welcome to share suggestions or feedback via email to or by calling 415-492-3233.


Community members are able to create their own maps via two map-drawing tools. 

  1. Paper-only maps
  2. A powerful, but also complicated, online map-drawing tool

You can approach the map-drawing process in several ways! You can draw the borders of your neighborhood and indicate whether you want it united in one trustee area or if you want your neighborhood to be part of multiple trustee areas. You can draw a proposed trustee area, or even sketch an entire map of the five trustee areas. 

Also, you can provide feedback on draft maps that have been previously shared. 

Draw whatever you would like the Board of Education to consider and submit it to The District’s demographic consultants will generate the population and other demographic details for your proposed map, and make sure that the Board receives a copy.

New or revised maps must be submitted by August 14.

Click the "Draw a Map" link in the left sidebar to learn more. 


On March 25, 2019, the SRCS Board of Education approved a resolution that indicates its intention to transition Board elections to by-trustee area elections. Board members are currently elected in "at-large" elections, where each member is elected by voters throughout the District’s territory, including both the elementary and high school regions. Under the new system, the Board members will be elected by-trustee-area; they will be required to live in the area they represent and will be elected only by the registered voters of that area.

The California Voting Rights Act's (CVRA) purpose is to ensure that the use of at-large elections does not prevent minority groups from electing candidates of their choice to the elected boards of local agencies. The CVRA allows an individual to file suit over an alleged violation, allows a successful challenger to recover their attorneys' fees from the agency and provides courts with broad authority to impose remedies to prevent the dilution of minority votes. 

In February 2019, the District received a letter from the attorney Kevin Shenkman alleging that current District Board elections are in violation of the CVRA. The letter indicated that litigation may result if the District did not make a transition to by-trustee area elections and suggested the District would be liable for his fees if it did not make the transition. The Board's adoption of the resolution limits the fees that Mr. Shenkman may request once the Board completes the transition. The District's liability for any fees would be subject to Mr. Shenkman making a request for a reasonable amount of fees incurred in sending the letter to the District.

The resolution approved by the Board also provides a general outline of the public process for developing the trustee area boundary map which would be used to implement by-trustee area elections. A subcommittee of the Board and the District are currently determining the timeline, but there will be a minimum of five public hearings as part of the process, including two public hearings prior to the development of any draft maps. To meet legal requirements, SRCS must complete the process by September 11, 2019. The new system would be in effect for the next SRCS Board of Education election in November 2020. Click here to view the resolution.

Please check back to this webpage - - for up-to-date information.


Frequently Asked Questions


Where can I learn more about districting and redistricting?
There are a number of online publications and guides to redistricting. You can start with this one from MALDEF and the NAACP, or this (long) one from the Brennan Centerthis one from the League of Women Voters, or this FAQ from the California Independent Redistricting Commission.

Why is SRCS transitioning to trustee area elections?
In 2002, the Legislature enacted the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) (Elec. Code §§14025 – 14032), which prohibits California public agencies, including public school districts, from imposing or applying an at-large election method “that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election” (Elec. Code §14027). A protected class is defined by the CVRA as “a class of voters who are members of a race, color, or language minority group, as this class is referenced and defined in the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965”.

In a lawsuit brought pursuant to the CVRA, a plaintiff who establishes a history of “racially polarized voting” under a school district's at-large election system can require a school district to change to a district-based election system. In February 2019, the District received a letter from an attorney, asserting racially-polarized voting in San Rafael. On March 25, 2019, the SRCS Board of education adopted a resolution outlining its intention to transition from at-large to district-based elections, which included specific steps the District will undertake to facilitate the transition, and an estimated time frame for doing so. To avoid litigation, SRCS must complete the process by September 11, 2019.

How will trustee area boundaries be created?
Below is the criteria used for creating trustee areas:

  1. Each trustee area must contain a nearly equal population.
  2. Trustee area borders must be drawn in a manner that complies with the federal, state, and any applicable law.
  3. In establishing trustee areas, the Board of Education may give consideration to the following factors: topography, geography, cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, compactness of territory, and community of interests.
  4. The Board of Education may also establish other criteria, so long as they do not conflict with federal, state, or applicable law.

Are other school districts making this change?
More than 200 school districts and 100 cities across the state are making this change in large part due to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). Other school districts which have recently made this change include Santa Rosa CS, Dublin USD, West Contra Costa USD, Martinez USD and Redwood City SD, while several others are in the process of making this change including Novato USD, Antioch USD and San Ramon Valley USD. In addition several Northern California cities, including the cities of San Rafael and Novato have recently made this transition.

Can you tell me more about the process? 
Switching to by-trustee elections will require the District to create five geographic trustee areas within the District, each assigned to one seat on the Board. Voters within each trustee area will vote only for candidates for the seat on the Board assigned to their trustee area. The Board is working with a professional demographer to create proposed trustee area boundaries which will be refined and revised following the public’s input. Ultimately, the Board will adopt a proposed map which will be reviewed and approved by the Marin County Committee on School District Organization. Once the transition is approved, Board elections will be transitioned to by-trustee area elections beginning with the 2020 election. The current Board members will continue in office until the expiration of their terms in 2020 or 2022.
Why is the timeline set the way it is, with a portion of the process happening over the summer?
Elections Code section 10010 establishes a timeline around the transition to by-trustee area elections. This timeline was triggered by Mr. Shenkman’s letter, if the Board did not adopt an “intent resolution” within 45 days of receipt of the letter, Mr. Shenkman could have filed suit to force the transition. However, the Board did adopt Resolution 1819-24 on March 25, 2019 declaring its intention to transition from at-large to by-trustee area elections. Due to the District’s adoption of Resolution 1819-24, Mr. Shenkman was barred by statute from commencing any legal action related to the transition to by-trustee area elections for 90 days thereafter.  A recent amendment to section 10010 allows an agency and individual who sent a demand letter to agree to extend this immunity period to a total of 180 days. Given this option and recognizing the District’s upcoming summer break and the superintendent search, at the District’s request Mr. Shenkman agreed to extend the District’s time period to adopt final trustee area maps until September 11, 2019.  

What do the acronyms and categories mean on the demographic sheets?
These are standard categories included in the Census. Not all of the categories are relevant for creating trustee area maps. Acronyms include:

  • NH: Non-Hispanic
  • VAP: Voting age population
  • CVAP: Citizen Voting Age Population
  • CVRA: California Voting Rights Act
  • NDC: National Demographics Corporation (the firm hired by the District to create the maps)

Do I have to submit a complete map?
No. You can draw boundaries for just the trustee area where you’d like your neighborhood to be or any part of the school district boundaries.

Can I submit more than one map?

What happens to the maps?
Once submitted, maps are considered public records. The District will post all legally-compliant submitted maps on its website.

How often are the voting trustee areas reviewed?
Trustee areas are reviewed every ten years, following the Census. 

Need help?
Contact the District’s demographers at National Demographics Corporation: 818-254-1221 (phone and fax) or

These FAQs will be updated and added to as the process unfolds. If you have a question you would like answered, please submit it to or 415-492-3233.