New Santa Paula Unified School District Board elected
By Brian D. Wilson
Santa Paula News
Published: November 09, 2012
Voters overwhelmingly approved Measure M Tuesday, and a new school board is almost complete for the Santa Paula Unified School District. There were six candidates running for the five-member board.
Christina “Tina” Urias was the top vote getter with 20.99 percent. “I am extremely happy,” she said. “But I and all my volunteers worked very hard to make my election possible. I will work with the rest of the elected board to make the transition to the unified board will be as smooth as possible.”
Diana Ponce-Gomez placed second with 17.66 percent. “I am honored to serve on the Santa Paula Unified School District Board,” she said. “What an exciting time for Santa Paula! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to help build a new school district for our students. I am looking forward to working with the board members and staff.”
Third was Michelle Kolbeck at 17.03 percent. “Since I have never thought of myself as political, this election has been more difficult than in the past,” Kolbeck said. “However, even though I was against Measure M, I am honored that I was elected to serve the needs of Santa Paula as the two districts merge and I thank those who supported me.”
Chris Wilson took the fourth spot with 16.28 percent of the vote. He said he’s excited and waiting to see who the fifth board member will be, and very happy that Prop 30 passed. “I am looking forward to creating a new school district that continues to build on the successes of the current districts,” he added. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I truly believe that the process of unification will strengthen education in Santa Paula.”
Kelsey Stewart was leading Tim Hicks by one vote for the remaining seat, but there are still late absentee ballots and provisional ballots to be counted. This process can take as long as a month.
Stewart said she has been told by the County Recorders Office that they are hoping to have all the ballots counted by Friday so an official announcement can be made as to who will be the fifth seat on the board. “I hope for our students’ sake they can finish the tally and confirm the last Board member soon; there is so much that needs to be started with unification. Establishing the Board promptly will allow a more appropriate start for our new district.”
Urias, Wilson and Ponce-Gomez all currently serve on the Santa Paula Union High School District board. Kolbeck serves on the Santa Paula Elementary School District board; she wrote the ballot argument opposing the measure. Hicks also serves currently on the elementary board. Stewart has served as a volunteer at the schools and is active in other community activities, most notably the Santa Paula Little League.
The top three vote earners will serve a three-year term, and the remaining two will serve a one-year term to stagger the elections.