Press Release

Bill to Modernize and Diversify OC Board of Education Passes California Senate

Sacramento, Calif. – The California Senate today passed Senate Bill 907 from Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), which would expand the Orange County Board of Education (OCBOE) to seven elected members while aligning its elections with the November general election. Increasing representation on the board and moving its election to the November general election will ensure that diverse voices that represent the whole community are included in the decision-making processes.

Why SB 907 is Needed:

  • Population Growth: Orange County’s population has more than doubled since the board’s last modification in 1977.  Orange County is one of the last counties of its size without a seven-member board.
  • Lower Voter Turnout: Currently, the OCBOE consists of five members who are elected during the primary elections, notorious for low voter participation and underrepresentation of diverse communities. The OCBOE race is also the only electoral contest in the county decided solely during the primary.
  • Enhanced Representation: An expanded board, elected in the general election, will better reflect the rich diversity of Orange County’s communities and ensure a broader range of voices are heard.

Senator Newman, who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, has emphasized the importance of these reforms, citing data that shows more than 360,000 fewer voters participated in the 2022 primary election compared to the November general election. This disparity has past elections has led to situations where OCBOE candidates have won with the support of as little as 11% of registered voters.

“Representation matters. This is a common-sense move to ensure the OCBOE reflects the diverse communities it serves,” said Senator Newman. “Expanding the board and moving the election to November will increase voter participation and create a more representative body for all of the Orange County families affected by the work of the Board.”

The Orange County Board of Education plays an important role in the Orange County education system, including overseeing the county Department of Education budget and operations. The current five-member board is elected to four-year terms within their respective trustee areas. SB 907 will enhance the board’s effectiveness by increasing its size and aligning the elections with higher-turnout general elections, thereby fostering greater community engagement and a more representative decision-making body.

The bill now moves to the California Assembly for committee assignment and hearings.

To schedule an interview with Senator Newman, contact Brian Wheatley at 916.651.4029.


State Senator Josh Newman represents the 29th Senate District, which is comprised of portions of Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County. The 29th District includes all or parts of the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Chino Hills, City of Industry, Cypress, Diamond Bar, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Placentia, Rowland Heights, Stanton, Walnut, West Covina and Yorba Linda. Senator Newman is a former United States Army officer, businessperson, and veterans’ advocate, and lives in Fullerton with his wife and daughter.