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Denair Unified moves to even year election cycle
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The Denair Unified School District Board of Trustees voted last week to transition from odd to even year elections, meaning the two candidates elected to the Board next month will serve an extra year.

Trustees voted 4-0, with Sandi Dirkse absent, to move the election of trustees from November of odd years to November of even years. The move is consistent with the state’s preference to consolidate local elections with statewide voting already scheduled for even years. There is ample data that shows voter turnout is much higher in even years, when people have more issues and candidates to consider.

Packaging elections also is more cost effective, Superintendent Aaron Rosander told trustees.

“There’s been work to align elections to even years to save money, that’s the impetus,” he said. “I think as time goes, you’ll see any election in an odd year go away. It’s very expensive. 

The upshot of the Oct. 12 decision means that voters in the Denair district will select two candidates from a field of four on Nov. 7 and then wait until 2020 to vote again. The terms of those elected next month will run until 2022.

On the ballot are Crystal Sousa, Charlie Asbill, Tina Gresio and Regina “Reggie” Gomes. They are competing to replace Trustees Robert Hodges and Sandi Dirkse, who chose not to seek re-election.

Also affected are the three trustees whose terms would have ended in 2019 – Kathi Filson, Ray Prock Jr. and John Plett. They now will serve until 2020.

DUSD isn’t the first local school district to make the jump from odd to even year election cycles, following Turlock Unified School District’s February decision to implement the same decision as a result of low voter turnout in odd years.

Compared to four previous statewide elections in 2010 and 2012, 27 percent fewer voters in TUSD Trustee Area 2 and 29 percent fewer voters in TUSD Trustee Area 6 turned out to the polls in 2013.

In other action, DUSD trustees:

·         - Voted unanimously to accept $173,000 in federal E-Rate Network funding, which will be applied to critical network upgrades across the district. Technology Director Mark Ranes said the district will add about $75,000 of set-aside state money to the project, which will support even more technology in classrooms across four campuses. “This will be dramatic,” he said. A timeline for completion still must be determined.

·         - Applauded the new Denair High mission statement presented by Principal Kara Backman. “DHS is dedicated to preparing individuals in a small-school community where students learn through differentiation and strong relationships in order to achieve college, career and vocational success.” Backman said the statement grew out of discussions with staff, parents and students.

·         - Heard a report from Kelly Beard, principal at Denair Elementary Charter Academy about a new play structure planned for the preschool. The structure will cost about $30,000, plus $10,000 for labor. They money was budgeted, Beard said. The new play area will be installed later this school year.