Clovis Unified to dump at-large elections. Will City of Clovis be next?

Clovis Unified and the City of Clovis have long held to at-large elections over districts to elect its school board and City Council. Now, things may be changing.

Clovis Unified School District is planning to change how trustees will be elected to the School Board starting in 2024.

It could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of major election changes affecting Fresno County’s second-largest city, too.


The backstory: Currently, trustees are elected at-large but are required to run for a seat specified by a specific geographic region.

  • The proposed change, prompted by the threat of legal action from a Malibu law firm noted for prodding municipalities into district-based election, could see a new map and district elections for the school district in 2024.
  • Board members have previously emphasized the importance of at-large voting, claiming it ensures trustees focus on the entire district rather than just their trustee area.

The big picture: The seats up for election in 2024 – Areas 2, 4, 5, and 7, would be the first to undergo district elections.

    • Those seats are represented by incumbents David DeFrank, Hugh Awtrey III, Steven Fogg, and Yolanda Moore.
    • The district recently received a letter threatening legal action from a law firm, Shenkman and Hughes, which has a history of suing entities using at-large elections arguing a violation of California’s Voting Rights Act.

    What’s next: The board has approved a resolution to undertake a detailed process involving analyzing district demographics, holding public hearings, and creating a trustee election map for the 2024 elections.

    • The process was initially initiated in 2021 but was delayed due to challenges caused by the pandemic.

    Beyond the school yard: The Clovis City Council, which also conducts at-large elections, is currently reviewing demographic information and a city manager’s report to determine whether to transition to by-area elections.

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