Special to the Village News
The two school districts serving Fallbrook will have some major challenges and agenda items to address in the coming weeks. The two boards will install new trustees at their respective meetings, both on Dec. 12.
Three incumbents in the Fallbrook Union High School District decided not to run for re-election and they will be replaced by two newcomers, each supported by conservative groups.
There were no candidates for District 2, which serves the Camp Pendleton area, so new trustees Courtney Hilborn and Paul Christensen will begin their tenure on a board of four members instead of five.
Finding a registered voter on the base who isn’t going to be deployed has been a challenge, said Eddie Jones, board president. The district has solicited people to apply for the position. Jones sent an update by email: “The district is talking to legal and the county and will be discussing it sometime after the new board is seated.”
In the final unofficial voter returns released Nov. 18, Hilborn had a strong lead in Area 1 with 1,134 votes, compared to 969 for Jim Dooley. In Area 2, Christensen had 2,831 votes with 1,436 for Karen Weisberger.
In the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, it appears likely there will be three new conservative trustees who will be sworn in at the Dec. 12 board meeting. It remains to be seen if the newcomers select Suzanne Lundin to serve another year as president.
The new trustees will also be tasked in searching for a new superintendent. Dr. Candance Singh’s last day will be Wednesday, Nov. 30. Following a closed session at the conclusion of its Nov. 7 meeting, Lundin announced that the board and its attorneys had negotiated a settlement and exit plan with Singh. The superintendent served the district for 11 years. She will receive nearly $400,000 rather than pursuing a lawsuit centered around her recent allegations of a hostile work environment, which Lundin said stemmed from the comments and behavior of a current board member, Caron Lieber, who voted against raises for Superintendent Singh.
Cindi Martin, associate superintendent of business services, was selected to be interim superintendent at a special meeting of the district trustees on Nov. 18. The board will finalize the decision and offer her a new contract at the Dec. 12 meeting.
Lieber is one of three trustees likely to be replaced. She trails challenger Diane Sebalj by 14 votes in the final unofficial results of the Nov. 8 election for Area 1. Both women were contacted this week and said they will recognize the winner – forgoing a potential recount – when the official results are released Dec. 8. There are only 11,000 projected outstanding ballots throughout the county according to the Registrar of Voters.
The other two incumbents trailed newcomers by a much larger margin. In Area 4, Stacey McRae was ahead with 2,253 votes against incumbent Susan Liebes with 1,824 votes. In Area 5, newcomer Mary McBride led incumbent JoAnn Lopez, 2,148 to 1,773.
There were 1.9 million registered voters and 1 million ballots cast, meaning a voter turnout of 53.8%
North County Patriots, a group headed by Michael Hefner, was able to help more than 40 area candidates win elections.
“We’re elated,” he said. “The voters spoke. They wanted conservative candidates, especially on the school boards.”
Another group, Fallbrook Freedom Fighters, worked with Hefner in supporting conservative candidates.