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Candidates register for school board seats - Part I of an ongoing series

School is nearly back in session, and the time to vote for trustees for the governing boards of education in local school districts is just around the corner on Nov. 2, in the Gubernatorial General Election.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day and Oct. 18 is the deadline to register to vote.

Beginning Oct. 4, absentee/mail ballots become available, and Oct. 26 is the last day to request an absentee/mail ballot through the mail, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters website.

Fallbrook Union Elementary School District has three open seats, but four candidates will vie for the three spots, with three of the candidates being incumbents. The fourth, Abel Lopez, is a local businessman.

Patty De Jong, Patrick Rusnell and Maurice Bernier are current board members who each have registered as candidates for the November election.

Bonsall Union School District also has three seats up for election this term, with four people registered as candidates.

Two of the four candidates seeking a seat on Bonsall’s school board are incumbents Timothy J. Coen and Lou Riddle. The two other candidates are Eric Russell Ortega, an archival researcher from Pala, and Richard “Buck” Smith, a school administrator from Oceanside.

Robert Turner, current board president, is not seeking reelection and holds one of the three seats that will be voted for in November.

Bonsall schools contain students from seven different zip codes including Oceanside, Vista, Pala, Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook and Valley Center.

Fallbrook Union High School District has three seats open for reelection, which are currently held by Marc Steffler, Bill O’Connor, and Mike Schulte.

Steffler did not file to run for reelection, but both O’Connor and Schulte are on the candidate list. Sherry Ludwig, a retired teacher, is the third candidate on the list.

Since the number of candidates is equal to the number of seats open, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters will not place the item on the November ballot, but will send letters to the three individuals and the school district immediately after the election informing them that they will be “seated as if elected” on the board.

Vallecitos School District also has three open seats and three candidates. Incumbents Sandy Wells and Craig Ohlson have both served since 2006 and are both seeking reelection, while Michelle La Londe, who has also served on the board since 2006, is not on the candidate list for reelection.

Darnley Michael, a medical sales representative from Fallbrook is the third candidate running for a seat on the school board.

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