Close call could cost Glendale school board incumbent her seat

Close call could cost Glendale school board incumbent her seat
School board incumbent Joylene Wagner, center, was in danger of losing her seat after all precinct results were reported early Wednesday morning. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Staff Photographer)

A break on the incumbent hold on three Glendale Unified school board seats appeared likely with most precincts reporting into early Wednesday morning.

With all 39 precincts reporting, Joylene Wagner, first elected to the school board in 2005, was narrowly trailing behind challenger Armina Gharpetian — who raised far more money than her competitors, taking in roughly $20,000 as of March 16, according to unofficial results reported by the city clerk's office.

Shortly after midnight, Wagner had 7,195 votes to 7,696 for Gharpetian, who was holding onto a narrow margin for third place. Challenger Jennifer Freemon had 7,504 votes, meaning the ultimate outcome could be affected greatly by the unknown number of provisional ballots, as well as vote-by-mail ballots turned into polling stations, yet to be counted as of Wednesday morning.

Incumbent Christine Waters appeared safe at second place with 8,171 votes.

Incumbent Greg Krikorian, who retained a commanding lead throughout the evening, cited his history of service on the board for his performance at the polls, pulling in 10,823 votes.

"I feel the work I've done in serving the teachers and students and community is reflected in the numbers," he said as the results rolled in. "We're really humbled. I'm appreciative."

For her part, Wagner said she'd be "very sad to not do this work anymore."

"I still hope that years of service count more than weeks of campaign," she said.

In a race that was defined largely by its public civility, the campaign centered mostly on issues of interest for various constituencies. In the Crescenta Valley, candidates were asked to respond to concerns about teen suicide and bullying. At other forums, they were asked to weigh on giving students the day off to commemorate the Armenian genocide.

From budget issues and co-existing with City Hall, and meeting student performance goals and overseeing a multi-million dollar school bond, the differences between candidates never opened wide enough for any clear break between them.

Still, as with any campaign, the end was a welcome sight among candidates.

After making last-minute calls to voters in the afternoon, candidate Daniel Cabrera said he was ready to let the results fall where they may. With less than three hours left for voters to cast their ballots, he said, "there's nothing I can do it about it at this point."

On Tuesday night, he planned to go to the gym, have dinner with his wife, and steer clear of the results as they trickle in.

"I'll wake up in the morning and find out how everything went," he said.

Staff writer Brittany Levine contributed reporting.



Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.