The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Board of Education voted last week to extend the board members’ terms by an extra year to bring the district into compliance with state election law.

A bill passed last year requires some cities, school districts and other special districts to change their election dates to coincide with statewide races in an effort to increase voter turnout. To comply with the law, commonly known as the California Voter Participation Rights Act, the board voted to move the election that would have taken place this year to coincide with the November 2018 election and to push the election scheduled for 2019 to 2020.

Multiple board members cited the potential to save the district money by consolidating elections as a main reason for approving the extensions. The board had the alternative to keep the scheduled races and instead elect subsequent members to five-year terms, but members raised concerns that rising election costs would hurt the PVPUSD financially.

Other cities and districts have opted for alternate approaches in response to the bill, including shortening subsequent terms rather than extending the terms of sitting officials. California Education Code, however, requires board of education members to be elected to four-year terms, and, unlike City Councils or other boards, shortening members’ terms was not an option.

Under the approved resolution, board members Barbara Lucky, Malcolm Sharp and Anthony Collatos, who would have been up for reelection this year, will instead run in a 2018 race. The terms of Linda Reid and Suzanne Seymour, which were set to expire in 2019, will instead run through 2020.

- Cynthia Washicko

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