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Three incumbents lead in San Juan school board race

San Juan Unified School District election results, as of Nov. 5.

By Mike Hazlip–
With all precincts reporting but more mail-in ballots still left to be counted, the top three candidates for San Juan Unified school board are Pam Costa, Paula Villescaz, and Saul Hernandez.

All three candidates are incumbents endorsed by the San Juan Teachers Association. Information from Sacramento County shows Costa received 21% of the vote, Villescaz received 18%, and Hernandez rounded out the top three with 17%.

The district’s five-member school board is responsible for approving an annual budget of more than $500 million and sets policies and goals affecting the education of approximately 40,000 students in the San Juan Unified School District, which includes Citrus Heights. Three seats were up for election this year.

Although school board positions are non partisan, Costa and Villescaz both received endorsements from the Democratic Party of Sacramento County, while Hernandez was endorsed by the Sacramento County Republican Party.

Costa made a guarded announcement without claiming victory on social media Wednesday, thanking her supporters.

“I think any one who knows me knows that I want all the data before making any announcements so I will wait until Friday’s results,” she said. “Today I want to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported me and everyone who voted!”

The first runner-up with 14% of the vote, Melinda Avey, has been an outspoken proponent of reopening classrooms in the district. She claims to be gaining ground as the remaining votes are counted according to a statement on Avery’s social media page.

“I remain optimistic that when all the ballots are counted I will have the honor of representing you on school board,” she said.

Vote totals as of Thursday morning were 35,791 votes for Costa, 30,779 votes for Villescaz, and 28,679 votes for Hernandez. The county will release updated totals on Friday at 4 p.m.

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