New look for local school boards

By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein The Press-Tribune
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At least five newcomers were poised to take seats at the helm of three of the area’s four school districts. - With thousands of votes still outstanding, the race for a two-year seat on the Roseville City School District was still too close to call, while a newcomer was poised to unseat an incumbent in the race for two four-year seats. Appointed incumbent Brett McFadden held a narrow 89-vote lead in the latest election returns as of Thursday, holding off challenger and retired police officer Scott Leavitt 50.03 percent to 49.64 percent. Though 100 percent of precincts were reporting, many votes had yet to be counted. They include about 20,000 vote-by-mail, provisional and write-in ballots throughout Placer, according to the Placer County Elections Department, though the number outstanding in the RCSD attendance area was unknown. “It’s way too early to tell,” McFadden said Thursday. “This thing could swing either way right now. However it turns out I’m just honored to serve.” In a race for two four-year seats on the board, retired teacher Susan Goto cruised to her fourth term on the board, drawing 35.96 percent of the vote. But newcomer Gary Miller, a virtual unknown, pulled off the upset of the night, easily outperforming appointed incumbent Stanford Hirata, a founding president of the RCSD Foundation. Miller had received 34.47 percent to Hirata’s 29.20 percent. Miller, who served nearly 20 years on the Robla school board in Sacramento, credited his success to knowing “how to run a campaign.” “I also think there are people in the Roseville area who saw my message and voted for my campaign,” Miller said. - In the Eureka Union School District, two newcomers were poised to join the Granite Bay district’s governing board following the decision by longtime incumbents Russ Nash and Dan Clift not to seek another term. Attorney Ryan Jones led the pack of five hopefuls, with 28.35 percent of the vote, followed by Granite Bay resident Kristie Greiss who garnered 24.82 percent. They were followed by Eric Teed-Bose with 23.73 percent, Eric Sanchez with 14.27 percent and Robert Hoslett with 8.51 percent. “We had five excellent candidates,” Jones said Wednesday. “I think we did a good job of getting our message out early and walking precincts and sending lots of e-mails and trying to send a message that I’ve got a long-term interest in the district.” Sanchez, a longtime district critic who also ran unsuccessfully in 2006, said Wednesday he was unsure whether he would continue to speak out regarding what he says is a lack of leadership on the board. “Part of me says, ‘Yeah, because it’s my responsibility as a parent in community and as a homeowner to stay involved,’” he said. “I just don’t know.” - In the Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District, longtime incumbent Barry Stillman appeared to be headed for defeat. Roseville resident Scott Otsuka was leading in the hunt for two seats on the board. Antelope resident Jeff Randall was a close second, followed by Stillman, Roseville resident Monica Prather and Antelope resident Bob Kunnmann. Otsuka said Wednesday he was planning on meeting with department heads and other key district staff “so that I can really hit the ground running and be knowledgeable,” he said. Kunnmann, a vocal critic of the district, had run a campaign on the need for more communication after a bruising fight with the teachers union and the community over layoffs. He was trailing all others in both the Roseville and Antelope attendance areas. - Little change will occur on the Roseville Joint Union High Schools District’s governing body, where incumbents Paige Stauss, R. Jan Pinney and Garry Genzlinger easily survived a challenge from Roseville resident Wayne Roberson. In a separate RJUHSD race for a single two-year seat, appointed incumbent Scott Huber was easily outpolling challenger Anthony Kong. Percentages were pending as vote totals from Sacra-mento County figures had yet to be added in, but were not expected to change the outcome. “I think it’s really simple,” Stauss said Wednesday. “I think people are pleased with the direction of the high school district and we want to continue this vision.”