Contact Us

© 2020 Association of California School Administrators
ACSA EdCal logo.
Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
Census delays could impact school boards
March 15, 2021
The impact of COVID-19 will delay the Census Bureau in delivering 2020 Census apportionment data to the states, which will impact school district elections.
According to a recent news brief from Lozano Smith, the bureau recently announced that it will deliver the redistricting data to all states by Sept. 30, 2021. This is two months later than previously expected, and six months later than the statutorily contemplated deadline. This delay will impact many public agencies as they begin preparing to address the legal obligations arising from the release of this data.
In October 2020, the United States Census Bureau completed “the count” for the 2020 Decennial Census. While the Bureau has yet to finish tabulating and verifying the final results, the anticipated release of the 2020 Census data will have an important impact on school district and public agency elections. Those public agencies that have already transitioned to “by-district” (or for school districts, “by-trustee area”) elections are required by law to analyze the new Census data and determine whether changes must be made to their by-district maps to ensure appropriate population balance.
Public agencies that conduct at-large elections, meaning that all voters in the entire boundary of the agency vote for all elected officials, may also be impacted by the 2020 Census data. Demands to transition to by-district elections under the California Voting Rights Act continue to be made throughout the state, causing more and more local agencies to make that transition.
California law requires public agencies that conduct by-district elections to analyze the 2020 Census data and, if necessary, readjust their current by-district area boundaries to ensure appropriate population balance is maintained. To fulfill this requirement, public agencies should engage a demographer who can perform the necessary technical demographic work, and prepare a plan for public outreach and participation.
The Fair And Inclusive Redistricting for Municipalities and Political Subdivisions Act requires cities and counties to follow specific public outreach and hearing procedures when going through the redistricting process. However, the California Education Code is silent as to how school districts review and implement trustee area adjustments, and the manner in which school districts decide to facilitate public participation in the creation of new trustee area maps. Therefore, local educational agencies should discuss best practices with their legal counsel to ensure appropriate public participation and board involvement.
Read this full news brief at