Village News Staff
The San Diego County Superintendent of Schools has issued an executive order calling for a special election to be held on September 19, 2023, to fill vacancies on the Governing Board of the Fallbrook Union High School District. The election will determine new board members for Trustee Areas 1 and 2.
The need for the special election arose when Board member Courtney Hilborn resigned on January 3, 2023, creating a vacancy in Trustee Area 1. On February 13, 2023, the remaining board members appointed Jim Dooley to temporarily fill the position. However, on March 14, 2023, a petition for a special election was submitted and deemed legally sufficient, resulting in the automatic termination of the new Board member's provisional appointment.
The Superintendent, in accordance with Education Code section 5091(c)(2), has ordered the special election to take place within 88 to 125 days following the order, or on an established election date within 180 days. As no established election date falls within the timeframe, the special election will be held on September 19, 2023.
In addition to the vacancy in Trustee Area 1, Trustee Area 2 also requires a special election. During the November 2022 election, no community member ran for the Trustee Area 2 seat, leaving a vacancy. The District initially applied for a waiver to appoint a new board member, but due to the lack of action by the State Board of Education, the District Board withdrew the application on May 11, 2023, necessitating a special election.
The Registrar of Voters for the County of San Diego estimates the cost of an in-person special election in Trustee Area 1 to range between $100,000 and $230,000. The District will bear the entire cost. However, utilizing an all-mail ballot system is expected to reduce the election cost by approximately $20,000 to $95,000. Consolidating the special election for both Trustee Areas 1 and 2 is also deemed cost-effective.
In response, on May 11, 2023, the District Governing Board passed "Resolution Number 17-2223 Authorizing All-Mail Ballot for Special Election to Fill Board Member Vacancy," mandating that the special election be conducted entirely as an all-mail ballot election. Voters will have the option to submit their ballots via traditional mail or ballot drop boxes, in compliance with Elections Code section 4004.
The San Diego County Superintendent of Schools has requested the Registrar of Voters to conduct the special election for both Trustee Areas 1 and 2. The Registrar is authorized, instructed, and directed to provide all necessary materials, equipment, and personnel to ensure a lawful and proper election. All costs associated with the election will be covered by the District.