One longtime incumbent on the Central Unified School District’s Board of Trustees kept her seat while two newcomers won in Tuesday’s election.
Central Unified was one of the quieter school board elections. Issues centered on the district’s growing pains and improving student academics, attracting a slate of newcomers wanting faster change.
With all precincts reporting, incumbent Terry Cox won the Area 6 race over Richard Martinez Jr., a management consultant and Army veteran. Martinez, who is married to the president of the Central Unified Teachers Association, ran unsuccessfully for the school board in 1996. Cox had 53.6 percent of the votes to Martinez’s 46.1 percent, with some provisional and absentee ballots yet to be counted.
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“I think that we worked hard to get our message out,” Cox said. “We had fantastic support, and so far it looks positive.”
Richard Solis, a Fresno County caseworker, won the Area 5 race with 39.2 percent of the vote. Trailing were incumbent Cynthia Berube, a nurse practitioner, who had 30.8 percent, and raisin grower Randy Rocca, who trailed at 29.6 percent.
Solis said voters want change and are “saying they want two new schools built and want to start focusing on academic achievement, on students, to get standards up higher.”
Berube was disappointed with the results. “I did everything I could,” she said. “It’s up to the people to decide what they want. I served our community for 25 years, and I’d like to continue.”
In Area 3, medical sales consultant Phillip Cervantes beat opponent Maria Petrogonas Brar, a web designer and mother. Cervantes, a longtime community service volunteer who grew up in Biola, had 51.3 percent of the vote to Brar’s 48.3 percent.
Voters in Central Unified were also asked to approve Measure C, an $87.3 million bond to renovate, upgrade and modernize schools and to construct new buildings. The measure required 55 percent approval. With all precincts reporting, the measure passed with 69.1 percent voting yes.