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FUHSD Board votes to hold special election to fill Trustee seats 1 and 2

Julie Reeder

Publisher

A special meeting was called for the Fallbrook Union High School District Board of Trustees on May 11, to consider whether to withdraw its Application waiver submitted to the California State Board of Education to provide the District with additional time to seek a qualified applicant to fill the vacant seat in Trustee Area 2.

This move by the board allowed the district to coordinate a special election related to Trustee Area 2 with the special election for Trustee Area 1 simultaneously. The vote was unanimous to withdraw the application waiver.

FUHSD Superintendent. Ilsa Garza-Gonzalez gave a report to the three existing board members and relayed the information that district staff recommended withdrawing the Application for a Waiver of the Deadline to Appoint a New Board Member to to allow the district to coordinate the special election related to Trustee Area 2 with the special election for Trustee Area 1, which would save the district money.

She explained that the cost would likely be between $100k and $225k, noting that $100k is if everything goes as planned and the $225k is only if every possible wrong thing happens that could. Garza-Gonzalez said that conducting the two elections at one time would likely preserve district resources.

The district hasn’t had a Trustee in Area 2 since the election, as no one volunteered to run for the position. In Trustee Area 1, Courtney Hilborn won the election but submitted her resignation in January 2023. The board appointed the runner-up, James Dooley, but a group of community members was unhappy with the appointment as they were looking for a director who was more in line with Hilborn as a parent representative and wanted a woman on the board, rather than a fourth man.

The Registrar of Voters received a petition with a sufficient number of valid signatures which terminated the appointment of Mr. Dooley to the Board and moved the special election forward. Garza-Gonzales explained to the board that they will receive notice of the date of the special election and the names that will be on the ballot.

Under the Election Code, an all-mail ballot election may be held for a school district special election only if a governing board approves the all-mail ballot procedure.

The board voted to conduct the special election for Trustee Areas 1 and 2 by an all-mail ballot, with the understanding the voters would be able to submit their ballots via traditional mail and ballot drop boxes consistent with the most recent Governing Board election process.

Ballot boxes will be placed in Trustee Area 1 and 2 to receive the ballots, which Garza-Gonzales explained would also cut costs of the special election.

 

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