No contest in most local school board races | August 22, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Schools - August 22, 2018

No contest in most local school board races

by Barbara Wood

The Ravenswood City School District will have the only school board election in The Almanac's circulation area in November after four other local districts' elections were automatically cancelled because the number of candidates equaled the number of open seats.

The Portola Valley School District will also have a bond measure on the ballot.

Ravenswood City School District

In the Ravenswood City School all three incumbents and seven challengers are running.

Incumbents Ana Maria Pulido, Charlie Mae Knight and Marcelino Lopez are seeking re-election to the five-member governing board. They will face school aftercare director Maria Victoria Chavez, special education administrator Brooke Crosby, nonprofit curriculum manager Stephanie Fitch, paraeducator Julian Garcia, teacher Laura Nunez, paraeducator and parent Nicole Sbragia and Tamara Sobomehin, who oversees development and strategy for youth technology nonprofit Streetcode Academy. Nunez and Sobomehin are running on a slate together.

Portola Valley School District bond measure

The Portola Valley School District does not have a board election this year. That's because instead of adding a year to board members' terms, as members of most other local elective bodies did to meet the new state requirements that local officials be elected in even years, the Portola Valley district's school board members decreased their terms by a year.

There is, however, a $49.5 million bond to pay for repairs, renovations and new buildings on the district's two campuses on the ballot.

The measure will require 55 percent of the vote for approval. An approved bond would add a maximum of $300 per $1 million of assessed valuation to property tax bills.

The money would go toward projects in a facilities master plan approved by the school board. The plan shows immediate first-phase priority projects at Corte Madera School, including a new two-story classroom building, costing between $38.4 and $42.5 million. At Ormondale School, projects costing $10.9 to $12 million are included as immediate first-phase priorities.

Menlo Park City School District

In the Menlo Park City School District, incumbents Terry Thygesen and Joan Lambert are not running for re-election. With only three candidates for three open seats — incumbent Stacey Jones; Finance and Audit Committee member and district parent Sherwin Chen; and former candidate, district parent and biotechnology professional Scott Saywell —the election is automatically canceled.

Las Lomitas Elementary School District

In the Las Lomitas School District, incumbents Rich Ginn and Christy Heaton are not running for re-election. Since there are only three candidates for three open seats — incumbent John Earnhardt, district parent and nonprofit executive Dana Nunn, and district parent and tech executive Jon Venverloh — the election is automatically canceled.

Woodside Elementary School District

In the Woodside Elementary School District, incumbents Claire Pollioni and Marc Tarpenning are not running for re-election. There are only three candidates for three open seats: appointed incumbent Jennifer Zweig; district parent, business executive and Safe Routes to School advocate Peter Bailey; and district parent Jenny Hayden, so the election is automatically canceled.

Sequoia Union High School District

Incumbent Chris Thomsen, a Menlo Park resident, was the only candidate to file in his district, so that election will automatically be cancelled.

The Nov. 6 election is the first since the Sequoia board divided the school district into five voting areas. Thomsen lives in Trustee Area D, which includes some neighborhoods of central Menlo Park west of U.S. 101, as well as North Fair Oaks and parts of Atherton and Woodside.

Board members must live in the area they represent and are elected by the voters residing in that specific area.

Board member Allen Weiner, whose seat is not up for election this year, lives in Area C, which includes West Menlo Park, Ladera, Portola Valley and Woodside.

There is no one currently on the board who lives in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park or in East Palo Alto. The first election for that area, Area E, is scheduled for 2020.


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