Press Release

Senator Josh Newman Introduces Bill to Enlarge Orange County Board of Education

Sacramento, Calif. — State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) introduced legislation yesterday to expand voter access and improve representation on the Orange County Board of Education.

Comprised of five elected trustees, the Orange County Board of Education oversees the Department’s alternative and special education programs in coordination with the County Superintendent of Schools.  The Board is also responsible for funding and developing a variety of programs that support the more than 450,000 students enrolled in Orange County’s 28 independent school districts. Under the provisions of SB 907, the membership of the Orange County Board of Education would be increased from its current five trustees to seven, with elections shifted from the current primary ballot in March to the general election in November.

“Since the last time the Orange County Department of Education was modified, in 1977, the population of Orange County has more than doubled,” 1 said Senator Josh Newman, Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “Increasing the number of trustees on the county board will ensure a more representative and responsive board, and aligning OCBOE elections with the November balloting will improve civic participation and parental engagement in our local education decision-making processes. Both of these changes are long overdue.”

Of the state’s ten largest counties, Orange County, which is the third most populous, is just one of four to still have only five trustees on its Board of Education. Moreover, of the 47 county offices of education which held elections in 2020, Orange County was one of only five to hold its elections as part of the lower turnout March primary, with the other 90% conducting their elections during the higher turnout November general election.

A study conducted in 2021 by the University of California at San Diego concluded that shifting local races from the primary to the general election ballot not only materially increases turnout, by nearly twofold, but also engages a more racially and demographically representative voter population. This is especially true for Hispanic and Asian American voters, who together account for almost 60% of Orange County’s current population.

“I'm glad to join Senator Josh Newman in his efforts to make the Orange County Board of Education more reflective of the people it represents. When I first introduced a bill moving the OCBOE elections to November in 2022, it was because too many people I talked to were unaware that this is one of the only elections in the OC that is definitively decided in the primary,” said Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine), coauthor of SB 907. “Moving these elections to the general election will harmonize the Board of Education's elections with other important elections, and increase voter participation. Senator Newman's proposal to add two more Trustees to the Board is also so important, as it will allow for better representation of a county that has over 3 million residents and nearly a half million K-12 students in its schools. I want to thank Senator Newman for bringing this important bill forward and I look forward to offering my full support for its passage."

To schedule an interview with Senator Newman, contact Brendan Hughes at 916.651.4029.

1 From 1.42 million in the 1970 census, to just under 3.2 million in the 2020 census. Source: United States Census Bureau




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.