The LAUSD vote 2022: Understanding the school board elections

The Los Alamitos Board of Trustees is holding elections in 2022; how do they work?

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Spectrum News

The sign for the Los Alamitos district office, the place where members of the school board come to enact new policy for the district. Los Alamitos, California. Accessed Oct. 13, 2022.

Sean Macdonald, Staff Writer

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — School board elections are often overlooked on the ballot. However, with a more polarized electorate and the national media focusing on education policy more fervently, school board elections have become far more disputable. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the Los Alamitos Board of Trustees has been garnering much attention from mask mandate policies to implementing an ethnic studies course. Two incumbents, Marlys Davidson and Diana Hill, face tough reelection campaigns against Colin Edwards and Rona Goldberg. Can Davidson and Hill survive or will they be replaced by new faces at the district office?

In this ongoing series about the Los Alamitos Board of Trustees elections, the Griffin Gazette will address the controversies of the current administration, introduce the four candidates and their policies, what the results of the election means for the future of the school board, and cover any other developing stories. This article is dedicated to how these elections work.

A map of the different areas for school board. (Los Alamitos Unified School District Website)

Recently, the school board reorganized from an at-large election system to one comprised of different areas. Similar to Congressional districts, there are areas spread throughout the precinct ranging from Seal Beach to parts of Cypress. Elections are staggered, so not every school board member is running at the same time. School board members are elected every four years with no term limits. In 2020, areas 2, 4, and 5 held elections (refer to the map to the right). Scott Fayette and Chris Forehan won open seats, while incumbent Megan Cutuli won reelection. 

This time around, areas 1 and 3 are holding elections for the 2022 election cycle. Area 1, currently represented by Marlys Davidson, contains Los Alamitos Elementary School (LAE) and McAuliffe Middle School. Additionally, Davidson’s area 1 district covers a majority of the city of Los Alamitos and parts of Cypress that affiliate with the Los Alamitos school district. Davidson’s challenger is Colin Edwards. 

Area 3, represented by Diana Hill contains the rest of Los Alamitos and fragments of Rossmoor. Weaver and Lee Elementary, Oak Middle School, and Los Alamitos High School are also located in area 3. Diana Hill and Rona Goldberg will face off against each other this November.

And no, school board elections are not partisan! Candidates for the school board do not identify as Democrats or Republicans. So, do not even bother about straight-ticket voting! Ballots have started mailing to voters as early as Oct. 10. It is important to remember that school board elections are often at the end of the ballot.

For first time voters, the deadline for registering to vote by mail and online is Oct. 24. The state of California offers in-person, same day registration too.

Education is the backbone of our future in terms of job creation, research, and the future prosperity for our youth. Therefore, school board elections are important, because their outcomes affect the direction that our school district proceeds in for the future. To have a stake in the future, it is of paramount importance to have your voice heard by voting.