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Unintended Consequences: The Impact of the CVRA Upon Superintendent Turnover

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Chloe Robinette Sargeant
Chloe Robinette Sargeant

Since 2001, in its efforts to increase minority representation in elected bodies and boards, the California Voting Rights Act has largely catalyzed the switch from at-large to by-trustee area elections across the state. ​Up to this point, myriad studies have focused on determining the efficacy of the CVRA in achieving its more explicit endeavors. However, less attention has been paid to potential peripheral impacts of the policy. ​My analysis thus focuses not on whether the CVRA has accomplished its intended purpose; rather, ​my research endeavors to understand if, and to what extent, the CVRA’s change in election methodology from at-large to by-trustee area elections has affected superintendent turnover. ​While it’s clear that turnover is higher in the CVRA treated group as compared to the comparison group, the CVRA also seems to be slowing down this trend with statistical significance in terms of retention by about .11, to .13, and finally, to .25 superintendents – after 3, 4, and 5 years, respectively. ​If this is the case, then the CVRA might be smothering the flames of superintendent turnover, as opposed to fanning these flames ​– as it appears to do at first glance.



superintendent, district governance, CVRA, superintendent turnover, at-large elections, by-trustee area elections, school boards, California Voting Rights Act