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Election 2022: O.C. Registrar of Voters offers look at early results in local school board races

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District office in Costa Mesa.
(Sara Cardine)

Among other decisions Orange County voters considered Tuesday was the question of who will be entrusted to run local school districts.

Coastal O.C. races took place in the Newport-Mesa Unified, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach City, Huntington Beach Union High school districts and the Coast Community College District for a number of different seats on each respective board. No race was held this year in the Laguna Beach Unified School District.

For the record:

5:16 p.m. Nov. 9, 2022A second reference to Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustee Ashley Anderson incorrectly identified her as Ashley Peterson.

Amy Calacci, 39, came to the Hertzog Community Center with 8-month-old daughter Elliott and 4-year-old son Reese, who got to wear his mom’s “I Voted” sticker on the way out. The Costa Mesa resident, who tends not to vote along party lines, said she was particularly interested in education matters.

“School board issues are important to me and how things are funded in this state,” said Calacci, who has an older daughter with a disability who is a kindergartner at Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s Woodland Elementary School. “I like the way things are going for her now. They’ve actually been incredible so far.”

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, here are the results of the local school board elections covered by the Daily Pilot:

Newport-Mesa Unified School District

Four of the seats on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District are up for election. Only two of those races include incumbents, current board president Michelle Barto and school board member Ashley Anderson.

Barto and Anderson are currently maintaining their leads in each of their trustee districts. Barto is reporting in with 70.2% of the votes in District 5 over fellow candidate Reina Shebesta, who holds 29.8% of the votes. Anderson, meanwhile, has taken the lead over two other candidates, Kristen Seaburn and Vicky Rodriguez, with 64.4% of the votes. Seaburn and Rodriguez are reporting in with 21.2% and 14.4%, respectively.

In Trustee Area 2, Michelle Murphy is leading the race with 66.9% of the votes. Candidate Danielle Mills follows with 33.1%. Meanwhile in Trustee Area 4, Lisa Pearson currently holds the lead with 62% of votes as compared to fellow candidates Barbara George with 28.4% and Kristen Nicole Valle with 9.5%.

Fountain Valley School District

The Fountain Valley School District is not divided up into individual trustee districts. The top three vote-getters of the six candidates are elected to the board, and voters are asked to pick up to three candidates for their ballots. Those three currently appear to be Sandra Crandall, Dennis Cole and Megan Irvine.

Crandall, an incumbent, was first elected to the board in 2010. Crandall holds the most votes with 21.7% cast in her favor. Cole accounts for 16.7% and Irvine, 16.5%.

They are followed by Phu Nguyen, 16.4%; Eileen Maeda, 15.7%; and Trisha Rintoul, 13.1%.

The district presides over seven elementary schools and three middle schools.

Huntington Beach City School District

There were only two seats up for election in the Huntington Beach City School District with incumbents Diana Marks and Paul Morrow running to hold onto their seats in Trustee Areas 4 and 5. Both Marks and Morrow currently appear to be holding the majority of the votes as of Tuesday evening. They currently hold 63.4% and 64.2% of the votes respectively.

Competitors Autumn Digiovanni and Julie Norton hold 36.5% and 35.8% of the votes in their trustee areas, respectively.

Huntington Beach Union High School District

In the Huntington Beach Union High School District, which presides over six high schools, incumbents Bonnie Castrey, Duane Dishno and Diana Lee Carey led the race as of Tuesday night.

Like the Fountain Valley School District, this district is not divided up into individual trustee districts. The top three vote-getters are elected to the dais.

Castrey is holding 21% of the votes; Dishno, 20%; and Carey, 18.4%. They are followed by fellow candidates Christine Hernandez, 11.1%; Matthew Harper, 9.9%; Angela Salinardi, 7.9%; Saul Lankster, 7.7%; and Scott Rogers, 4%.

Coast Community College District

Incumbent Jim Moreno is leading in the lone race for this district, which includes Seal Beach and Westminster, against candidate Russell Neal II with 68.2% of the votes. Neal follows with 31.8%.

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