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Castaic School District To Look At Elections, Lawsuit, Budget Tonight

The Castaic Union School District is looking at a pair of separate legal actions at a special board meeting Monday night, district officials said.

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A lawsuit against another school district and the potential for changing the election of the governing board are two items of discussion on the agenda.

The meeting was called to formally approve the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan, a state-mandated spending plan the school district reviewed at a public hearing on Thursday.

The district will also be adopting a general fund budget of $21.5 million.

Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District charter schools

Recently, the Newhall and Los Angeles Unified school districts filed lawsuits against the Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District, alleging the district usurped its local control with its charter school approvals.

The school district approved 15 charter schools over the last three years, according to a letter from Newhall officials.

Related article: Newhall School District Files Lawsuit Over AADUSD Einstein Academy Approvals

Castaic Union officials are considering joining the lawsuit as an aggrieved party, Superintendent Jim Gibson said Monday.

“We’re considering, because we are an injured party, joining the lawsuit,” Gibson said. “In order for (Dannis, Woliver, Kelley) to give us an opinion and guide us, then we need to retain their service, regardless of the direction the district would take.”

The AADUSD district chartered Einstein Academy to open a school intended to operate within CUSD borders. However, the school’s inability to have the site permitted in time for this school year meant students of that charter school attended AADUSD campuses this past school year.

Related Article: Charter School Bill SB 1263 Passes In Senate, Headed To Assembly

The charter school approvals ultimately prompted legislation slated for discussion among Assembly committees in the state Legislature.

District-based elections

The Castaic Union School District was one of four sent letters by the law firm of Shenkman & Hughes earlier this month.

Related article:4 Santa Clarita Valley School Districts Sent Letters On Voting Rights Act

The letters sought a voluntary move by the governing board to district-based elections -- where a board member lives in and represents a certain geographic region of a district -- from their current at-large elections, whereby a representative could live anywhere and represent the whole district.

Hart district officials recently announced their intent to look at district-based elections at their JUly 18 board meeting.

The Castaic Union board has a little different dynbamic, but still planned a thorough look at the situation, Gibson said.

“I don’t expect an action on one of those directions tonight,” Gibson said, referring to a changing of the district’s electoral system. “We’re considering our options at this point.”

Gibson mentioned the fact that CUSD has a Hispanic representation, and in the past has had ethnic representation of minorities on its governing board.

“We’re going to look at what the other districts have done,” said board President David Huffaker. “We want to be in compliance. We’re waiting for some advice from legal counsel.”

The board would likely take action in July after advice is received, he said.

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Castaic School District To Look At Elections, Lawsuit, Budget TonightKHTS AM 1220 - Santa Clarita News - Santa Clarita Radio

Article: Castaic School District To Look At Elections, Lawsuit, Budget Tonight
Source: Santa Clarita News
Author: Perry Smith