City council members propose term limits for school trustees

SDUSD

SAN DIEGO — Four members of the City Council Friday unveiled a proposal to bring the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education elections process into alignment with city procedures.

The plan to impose term limits and district elections on SDUSD trustees was put forth by council members Chris Cate, Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf in a memorandum to council President Myrtle Cole.

They suggested amendments to the City Charter — the city’s primary governing document — that would go before voters for approval. While the school district is an independent agency, the City Charter sets up the overall terms of its governance.

“This proposed ballot measure would simply continue the efforts of the past City Council to bring consistency between the San Diego Unified School District and city, county, and state election rules we use to elect council members, supervisors, and state legislators,” Cate said in a statement.

“Term limits are used throughout local government to ensure leaders are held accountable and adding a district specific general election will avoid confusion to voters who are accustomed to the rule for other local elections,” Cate said.

San Diego Unified trustees serve four-year terms and can run as often as they want under the current rules. Two, Richard Barrera and John Lee Evans, recently embarked on their third terms.

The SDUSD conducts voting by district in the primary election. Top vote- getters move on to the general election, which is district-wide.

By contrast, City Council members are limited to two terms and are chosen only by registered voters in the neighborhoods they represent.

According to Cate’s office, the proposal will be heard at the March 21 council meeting. If approved, the plan would go before voters next year.

Officials with the school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.