Judge cuts lawyer fee in Madera Unified election case

Madera Unified School District must pay $162,500 in attorney fees to a San Francisco civil-rights group that challenged the district's method for electing its board members, a Madera County judge has ruled.

The school district said Friday that it was pleased with the judge's decision.

The civil-rights group, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, had said it was owed $1.8 million in attorney fees.

In March 2008, the group sent the district a letter that stated the district was not following the California Voting Rights Act, which requires board members in many government districts with large minority voting populations to be elected by area rather than at-large.

The district disagreed and the civil-rights group filed a lawsuit.

The parties eventually settled and the district agreed to hold by-area elections.

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