Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Supporters applaud Los Altos School District Board of Trustees election winners Steve Taglio, in white, and Pablo Luther, in black, at First & Main Sports Lounge on election night.
After one of the most high-profile elections in Los Altos School District history, newly elected trustees Steve Taglio and Pablo Luther said they are ready to move ahead.
Appointed incumbent Taglio received the most support Election Day with 10,667 votes (37.79 percent), and Luther placed behind him with 9,582 votes (33.95 percent). Bullis Charter School parent Amanda Burke-Aaronson tallied 6,309 votes (22.35 percent) and Gardner Bullis parent Vladimir Ivanovic, who dropped out of the race last month, received 1,669 (5.91 percent).
“It’s been a long, arduous election season,” Luther said. “It’s been a new learning experience for me having never run for public office before.”
Taglio said he enjoyed speaking with potential supporters.
“I found it great to get out from behind those (board) tables and get out and talk in forums and … with the community,” he said.
Both candidates thanked their supporters.
“I feel a cornucopia of mixed feelings – relief, exhaustion, humility and the feeling of, ‘OK, all these people have entrusted me with the school district. I hope I can live up to the expectations,’” Luther said.
Both candidates identified finding a long-term facilities solution for Bullis Charter School as a major responsibility of their tenure on the board.
“The facilities issue has to be resolved,” Taglio said. “We are growing. As we get density that is only going to increase, that growth is going to mean facilities changes. I think expansion is the best way of handling that.”
Luther agreed that developing a 10th school site for the charter school is a high priority.
“We do have some challenges with building bridges – identifying a 10th school site and figuring out how to work with the Bullis Charter School board,” he said.
Despite the ongoing conflict with Bullis Charter School, Taglio and Luther remain optimistic about education in Los Altos schools.
“We have great things to look forward to on how we move education forward from an augmenting technology standpoint,” Luther said.
“There are a lot of interesting things with education,” Taglio added. “There are a lot of new ways of reaching students and making education more dynamic.”
Local districts can breathe a sigh of relief after election results confirmed that voters approved Proposition 30, the state measure that blocks drastic midyear cuts to education.
“It is nice to have that breathing room,” Taglio said. “That paired with the rebound in public tax revenue hopefully means we can finally look into what we can do differently for the program, rather than how we can just maintain and keep from cutting in the program.”
Foothill-De Anza district
The three incumbents on the Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees were re-elected Nov. 6.
Laura Casas Frier received 79,031 votes (34.21 percent), Betsy Betchel tallied 65,581 (28.89 percent) and Joan Barram notched 58,392 (25.28 percent). The lone challenger, Geby Espinosa, a former De Anza student, received 27,998 votes (12.12 percent).
“I am grateful to the voters for giving me the opportunity to continue working with the administrators, faculty, staff and students of Foothill and De Anza,” Barram said in an email to the Town Crier. “And I feel privileged to serve as a representative of this great community.”
Barram said that while the district still confronts challenges and prospective cuts, the passage of Proposition 30 is a huge win for community colleges.
“We have many challenges as we deal with the effects of California’s state budget crisis, but our job was made a little easier by the passage of Proposition 30,” Barram said. “It will prevent over $6 million in midyear cuts at Foothill and De Anza and allow us to educate and train over 2,000 full-time students whom we would have been unable to serve.”
Santa Clara County Board of Education
Los Altos resident Dave Cortright fell short in his bid to unseat incumbent Grace Mah on the Santa Clara County Board of Education.
During the campaign, Cortright received support from local parents. Many shared his views on which types of charter schools the county should approve. He is a vocal opponent of Bullis Charter School.
Mah received 46,908 votes (67.1 percent) and Cortright 23,002 (32.9 percent).