Santa Paula Times

Incumbent Stewart widens lead over Mead for SPUSD seat

November 23, 2016
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly

Santa Paula Times  

It looks like the Santa Paula Unified School District Board will have three incumbents regaining seats after the latest ballot count released by the Ventura County Elections Division.

Incumbent Kelsey Stewart has apparently secured a second term on the board after inching further ahead of retired schoolteacher and administrator Jeri Mead.

Stewart now has 12.01 percent, 3,132 votes and Mead has 11.85 percent, 3,091 votes. As of the latest ballot count released Friday, Stewart now has 40 votes over Mead, a first time political candidate, widening her lead by nine votes. 

Incumbent Chris Wilson, who finished seventh in the eight-way race for five seats, has 11.49 percent, 2,997 votes, almost 100 votes behind Mead. 

The election for the SPUSD board was the first for the former high school and elementary school district to seat board members on a staggered schedule. When voters approved the merger in 2012, all five seats were opened up. With the November 8 election, the top three candidates — retired teacher Pamela Thompson and longtime board incumbents Christina “Tina” Urias and Michelle Kolbeck win four-year terms. Fourth place candidate Derek Luna, a teacher and coach, and the declared winner of the fifth seat will have two-year terms. In 2018 those seats will be up for election for a regular four-year term.

Incumbent Diana Ponce-Gomez declined to run for another term.

With new results released Friday Thompson held firmly onto first place with 16.81 percent, 4,384 votes, Urias remains in second place with 14.25 percent, 3,716 votes and Kolbeck ranked third with 12.94 percent 3,375 votes. 

Luna, like Thompson a newcomer to politics, placed fourth with 12.77 percent, 3,329 votes. 

Tim Hicks, a Blanchard Community Library Board member, finished eighth with 7.70 percent, 2,007 votes.

There were 44 write-in votes, 0.17 percent. In all, 26,075 votes have been counted for the Santa Paula Unified School District Board election.

There are 12,125 registered voters in Santa Paula.

The county has until December 6 to verify the results of the election; 43,667 ballots — mail in and provisional ballots that must be vetted — remain to be counted. 

The next update of election results is scheduled Tuesday, November 22.