Preliminary results from the Stanislaus County Consolidated District Election showed that voters overwhelmingly supported the countywide renewal of Measure S, and while one small school district gained two new board members, another’s race was still too close to call.
As of 9:56 p.m. Tuesday, about 32,000 of Stanislaus County’s nearly 240,000 registered voters had submitted their ballots for the odd-year election – just 13.46 percent of those registered to vote.
With 90 percent of the votes counted, 81.08 percent of voters voted in favor of Measure S, which is the countywide renewal of an 1/8-cent sales tax that has made up a significant portion of the library’s operating budget for a number of years. For the first time, voters this election were asked to extend the renewal for 12 years, rather than the five in previous elections.
“More than a year ago, I was approached by our county librarian and fellow Rotarian, Diane McDonnell, to co-chair our campaign to Save Stanislaus Libraries. I was a little leery, but after meeting my future co-chair Pat Portwood and seeing her dedication, organization, and enthusiasm in our first meeting, I knew I couldn’t screw things up too badly and decided to jump into the fray,” Save Stanislaus Libraries committee co-chair Ryan Dziadosz posted to Facebook earlier in the day. “It’s been quite a trip and it has truly taken a team. We’re all good at our individual parts and together, those parts have made a great whole campaign.”
If two-thirds of voters approve of Measure S, the library sales tax would extend for 12 years, effective July 1, 2018. An oversight committee is in place to see that the money raised is used appropriately. It is anticipated to generate $10 million annually for the libraries in Stanislaus County.
In addition to Measure S, the ballot also featured races for Denair Unified School District, where voters selected two board members from four candidates, and Chatom Union School District Area 2, where just one vote separated two candidates at the time of this article.
As of 9:56 p.m., the top two vote getters for the open DUSD school board positions were Crystal Sousa, with 37.16 percent of the vote, and Reggie Gomes, with 26.21 percent of the vote. Candidate Charles Asbill trailed behind Gomes with 21.89 percent of the vote, while Tina Gresio received 14.11 percent of the vote.
Sousa, an experienced educator and the Merced County Office of Education’s “Teacher of the Year” in 2015, said that she was “cautiously excited” about the election’s preliminary results.
“I’m very excited because I wanted this really badly,” she said. “I had a great team of volunteers who knocked on doors, made phone calls and really went all out. I don’t know if Denair has ever had that kind of activism before.”
Gomes is another candidate with experience in education, having recently retired from the Turlock Unified School District technology department. She is a Denair resident of 42 years, and has two grandchildren and a son who have all attended or are attending Denair schools.
She was watching her son play baseball at Pedretti Park during the evening hours of the Tuesday’s election, she said, and anxiously checked her phone for results throughout the night.
“I feel good about the results right now,” said Gomes. “I’m looking forward to doing this and I’m pretty excited, but it’s been pretty stressful waiting. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
The race between Turlock teacher Rodney Machado and dairyman Ryan Blount for CUSD Area 2 was still too close to call as of 9:56 p.m., with just one vote separating the pair. At the time of this article, 66.67 percent of votes within Area 2 has been counted, with Machado receiving 16 votes and Blount receiving 15.
While Machado was unable to be reached for comment, Blount was home with his family Tuesday night, he said, waiting for the final results. He decided to make a run for the school board seat after being involved with the district because of his four children who attend Chatom schools, and wanted to make a positive impact.
“I thought it was time to throw my hat in the ring,” said Blount. “Either way, I’m really involved with the school here. So, it’s a bonus if I get to be on the board, and if not, it’s not going to deter me from continuing to coach and remaining active in the school.”
Results for the Stanislaus County Consolidated District Election are posted periodically as votes are counted throughout the night. To view a summary of the results, visit www.stanvote.com/past-results/results.htm.