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Last updateWed, 06 Dec 2017 2pm

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Tight LASD races had supporters on edge of seats


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Measure N election consultant Chris Callaway, from left, Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier and candidate Vladimir Ivanovic check results online as the polls close on election night.

Election Day turned into Election Week for local residents tracking the results of Measure N and the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees race.

After a weeklong topsy-turvy ride, Measure N, the district’s $150 million bond, ultimately reached its 55 percent threshold for passage and voters elected incumbent Tamara Logan and newcomers Sangeeth Peruri and Vladimir Ivanovic to the board.

For most of last week, the fate of Measure N and the winner of the third seat on the school board hung in the balance.

After the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters counted the 88,000 votes cast by local residents at the polls Nov. 4, Measure N fell short of the 55 percent approval required for passage by nine votes. Initial results also showed candidate John Swan winning the third seat on the board, with Ivanovic 29 votes behind.

However, Election Day tabulations did not include the approximately 150,000 absentee ballots remaining to be counted. It took officials five days to tally the outstanding ballots. Updated results were posted at 5 p.m. each day.

Swan held on to the third seat through Friday’s results, when Ivanovic took the lead and Swan trailed by 384 votes.

Measure N surpassed the 55 percent threshold when the Nov. 5 results were reported, but only by 15 votes. As the week progressed, support for Measure N continued to grow. After all absentee ballots were counted, Measure N captured 57.31 percent percent approval (8,369 votes).

The final tally of absentee ballots revealed that voters elected incumbent Logan with 8,102 votes (25.78 percent), Peruri with 7,375 votes (23.47 percent) and Ivanovic with 5,733 votes (18.24 percent). Swan received 5,160 votes (16.42 percent), 573 votes behind Ivanovic, and Martha McClatchie nabbed 5,053 votes (16.08 percent), 107 votes behind Swan.

The Registrar of Voters still has 14,000 provisional ballots to count; however, it is unclear how many of those ballots would affect the Los Altos School District race. Election results are scheduled to be certified Dec. 2.

Reactions

Swan described the Election Week as “not a whole lot of fun” and said he wished the results were more concrete sooner.

“I understand the logistics involved,” he said. “But it still doesn’t make the process any easier.”

Moving forward, Swan said he would be more of an observer of the school district, promising to get involved if the district doesn’t “learn from its mistakes.”

“I clearly don’t want (the district) to fiscally mismanage the bond money as they have in the past,” he said.

Ivanovic said that even though the race remained close for most of the week, he was not stressed out because there was nothing he could do to change the results.

Looking ahead, Ivanovic said he is excited to work with the district on education and curriculum.

“If we could put the facilities issue to bed in some sort of reasonable fashion, I would be thrilled,” he said. “I am thrilled the bond passed. The idea of serving on the board without having a bond passed would be just torture and would make everything worse. The fact that we now have some flexibility is great.”

Ivanovic said he is dedicated to ensuring that the district spends the bond funds wisely and appropriately with community input.

Peruri called the Election Week experience “surreal” and said he was pleased with the final outcome. He added that he was most concerned with the Measure N results, as he spent the latter part of his campaign promoting the bond measure.

“I think this is a great opportunity for the district,” he said. “And my two main priorities have not changed – I want to make sure that the district allocates the bond money appropriately and efficiently, and I want to help the district execute its Education Blueprint.”

Logan said supporters of Measure N were disappointed when initial results showed it falling short of passage. Because there wasn’t much to celebrate on election night, she finally commemorated the victory with Measure N supporters Sunday night.

“I think everyone had this feeling we had built momentum behind Measure N,” she said. “And the results Wednesday were surprising. I am happy with the final results and impressed with how our community always pulls together to cooperate and get things done.”

Logan added that the board of trustees will continue bond measure discussions at its meeting Monday, past the Town Crier’s press deadline.

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