La Cañada Unified voters favor school board incumbents, approve Measure LCF bond

La Cañada Unified School District voters weighed in on the future of local education Tuesday, casting ballots to elect three school board candidates and roundly approving Measure LCF, a $149-million school bond to rebuild and modernize campuses, by 71.33%

As a result three La Cañada parents — incumbents Dan Jeffries and Kaitzer Puglia and board newcomer Joe Radabaugh — are expected to be sworn into the LCUSD Governing Board in December.

Jeffries, who works as a prosecutor for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, was the top vote-getter, receiving a total of 2,104 votes, or 26.55%.

Following close behind was Radabaugh, a retired Nestlé executive, who earned 1,964, or 24.78% of the ballots cast. Taking the third seat was current board Vice President Puglia, a professor at Pasadena City College, who received 20.26% of the votes, with 1,606 ballots cast in her favor.

JPL engineering manager Chris Salvo and land-use attorney Josh Gottheim trailed behind with 1,164 and 1,088 votes, respectively.

During a regular meeting of the LCUSD board Tuesday that happened to coincide with election night, Supt. Wendy Sinnette recounted the history of Measure LCF, from the first time in 2015 members of the district’s Technology Review Access Committee came to understand a bond would be needed to fix schools’ aging infrastructure, to recent campaigning by the Citizens for Modernizing LCUSD Schools committee.

“Since May of last year, this group has worked tirelessly,” Sinnette said. “It is a testament to their extreme dedication to our district and, no matter the outcome of tonight’s election, they’ve got all of our eternal gratitude.”

The school bond required 55% of voter approval for passage.

Puglia and Jeffries, who attended Tuesday’s school board meeting until nearly 9:30 p.m., said Wednesday they were not aware of the incoming election results until the meeting adjourned.

“I could see other board members passing notes back and forth, and showing their screens,” said Jeffries, 59, of the initial results showing him in the lead. “I was very excited. Then I came home to be with my campaign staff, my wife and [three] kids.”

He commended Gottheim and Salvo for putting their names in the race and contributing to a rigorous, issues-focused campaign.

Puglia left the meeting to watch the campaign returns at home with husband Joe, a Valley Sun columnist, and a gathering of friends.

“I’m just appreciative to the community for their continued support,” the 56-year-old mother of two said Wednesday of her election and Measure LCF’s passage. “It’s a winning night for me but also for our community and our students.”

Radabaugh, a 48-year-old father of two, attended much of Tuesday’s school board meeting before heading off to meet up with a small group of supporters. He said he’d learned of the preliminary results from someone sitting next to him, a fact confirmed later when a school board member gave him a thumbs up as he left.

“I had a text from one of them saying congratulations, but I didn’t think congratulations were in order until we saw the first batch of election results come in,” he said, adding he got confirmation at around 11 p.m.

“I’m super honored by the amount of people who were willing to help me get up to speed on the [district’s] past and look to the future,” Radabaugh added. “I want to hit the ground running.”

In separate email responses, Salvo and Gottheim thanked their supporters and expressed appreciation for all they learned on the campaign trail.

“Who knows what the future holds?” Salvo said.

sara.cardine@latimes.com

Twitter: @SaraCardine

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