School board race no longer uncontested, Francisco Dominguez
Gilroy – And the race is on.
Francisco Dominguez, a local business owner who picked up papers for the Gilroy Unified School District and Gavilan College board elections, dropped off his declaration of candidacy on Wednesday, the filing period deadline.
Dominguez’s last-minute decision to run tipped the scale on the GUSD race, turning what would have been an uncontested election into a true competition. Four seats are open on the local school board but only two of the incumbents up for reelection are running.
Trustees Javier Aguirre and Tom Bundros are seeking reelection, while incumbents David McRae and Jim Rogers chose not to run. In addition to Aguirre, Bundros and Dominguez, Denise Apuzzo and Ardy Ghoreishi are also running, bringing the total candidate count to five.
During a Thursday afternoon interview with Dominguez, the father of four explained that he picked up papers for both school board elections because he considered throwing his name in the Gavilan College race if the incumbent didn’t file.
But in the end, Dominguez decided to go with GUSD.
“My interest is really (focused) in the elementary, high school district,” he said.
A former school board member, Dominguez served two four-year terms on the Oxnard School District and one term on San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley School District board. He moved to Gilroy a year ago and is a public affairs consultant for his Gilroy-based business DZ Consulting.
Three of his four children attend Gilroy schools, with his youngest starting kindergarten at Luigi Aprea Elementary School next week, another attending Brownell Middle School and the third will soon be a junior at Gilroy High School.
Dominguez said he became interested in running for the school board when he read that the incumbents weren’t planning to seek another term. But the main reason the Gilroyan decided to run was simply because it’s a way for him to keep on top of community issues.
“As a parent I think it’s important that you’re involved in your child’s education and it would be hypocritical for me to say parents should be involved and not be involved,” Dominguez said.
He said the district needs to focus on the minority groups, such as English learners, in order to beef up standardized test scores. He also mentioned the need to continue pushing for improvement in math, ensure that the district stays on track with the construction of a second high school and work to improve parental involvement.
“Schools, for the most part, have a hard time communicating with parents,” he said.
Aguirre was appointed last year to serve the late TJ Owen’s remaining term. He is a senior policy aide for Santa Clara County Supervisor Blanca Alvarado and is married with one young child.
Apuzzo, a local Realtor, has three children who all attend Gilroy public schools. She is also a former Dispatch columnist and regularly attends school board meetings.
Bundros, a software engineer, is running for reelection after serving on the board for one term. He and his wife have six children together. Five of his children graduated from Gilroy High School.
Ghoreishi, an engineer and technician, is the father of a 6-year-old Las Animas Elementary School student, where his wife also teaches. He volunteers on the Christopher High School Steering and Citizen’s Oversight committees.