LOS ANGELES – MALDEF sent a letter to Adelanto school officials Wednesday, warning that the district’s at-large system of electing Board of Trustees members violates the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA).

In the letter, sent to Christine Turner, president of the board of trustees for Adelanto Elementary School District, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) says the district’s current at-large system dilutes Latino voting strength and prevents Latino voters from electing candidates of their choice.

U.S. Census figures show that Latinos comprise 46 percent of the citizen voting-age population in the Adelanto district. Yet, as MALDEF’s letter states, “currently there are no Latinos on the Board of Trustees and historically Latinos have been underrepresented on the Board of Trustees.”

“Education is one of the most important services delivered by local government,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel.  “It is imperative that all voters have the opportunity to participate in choosing school district governance.”

Under the CVRA, local jurisdictions, including school districts, that show patterns of racially polarized voting that curtail a minority group’s ability to elect its preferred candidates must switch from an at-large election system, in which members are elected by all voters, to district-based elections where voters who live in each district elect the candidate of their choice from within the specific district.

“Given the importance of obtaining a quality education, it is vital that the students of Adelanto Elementary School District have a board of trustees that is elected through a more equitable election system,” said Tanya G. Pellegrini, MALDEF staff attorney.

Adelanto Elementary School District is located in San Bernardino County and is comprised of 13 elementary, K-7, K-8, and middle schools.

Read MALDEF’s letter