How Schools Fared in the Election

Gilroy High

The man who dropped out of the Gilroy school board election actually won in more than half of the precincts where ballots were cast. But he is losing in the final count to a pair of incumbents and a newcomer who once headed a school employees union, according to unofficial, semifinal results from the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

As of Monday, 70,000 mail-in and 40,000 provisional ballots countywide remained to be tallied, but all ballots cast at polling places had been counted, according to the registrar’s office.

And as of Monday, 117 votes separated third- and fourth-place Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees candidates BC Doyle and dropout candidate Paul Nadeau.

However, the biggest local school ballot question might have been decided not by Gilroy voters but by the rest of California.

Prop. 51’s apparent passages could pump millions into new Gilroy schools and classroom renovation projects, possibly saving local taxpayers the expense of another bond measure and millions in additional principal and interest payments for decades.

Prop. 51 is the $9 billion statewide general bond measure to improve public education facilities. At last count, it had about 54 percent of the vote.  

Enough money might flow from Prop. 51 to build not only a planned new grade school but also a new South Valley Middle School at a new location, instead of renovating the aging facility on the city’s east side, according to one school official.

“We are talking, give or take, $100 million. It’s not guaranteed, but I think it’s looking pretty good,” said GUSD trustee Mark Good.

“We have been in line and we have approvals for a number of projects already,” he said.

Good was elected to a fourth term on Nov. 8 and was the runaway favorite. It’s not likely outstanding ballots will change that outcome. He garnered 1,175 more votes than incumbent James Pace, the next-highest vote getter, according to an as-yet incomplete vote count.

Good raised the idea of new middle school not only because of possible state matching funds, but also because the proposed high speed rail project as currently planned might cut right through South Valley’s campus on IOOF Avenue.

The distribution formula for state bond money is dollar-for-dollar reimbursement for new construction and 40 percent for renovation projects.

Pace agreed that state funds have the potential to accelerate and expand plans for improving school facilities.

“It makes it a lot easier for us not having to worry as much about where the funding is coming from,” he said Monday.

The state bond money will be added to $170 million from Measure E, the local facilities bond sale approved in June by GUSD voters.

In the meantime, if vote counts do not change or change by only a few voters, it means Paul Nadeau will have finished second, third or tied in 19 of 35 precincts in the Gilroy school district’s race for three seats, even though he dropped out of the race.

As of Monday, Nadeau was 117 votes behind the third place candidate, BC Doyle, a former Navy SEAL, retired GUSD union leader and maintenance worker.

Good, an attorney and former Gilroy police sergeant, garnered 10,312 votes, or 29.40 percent, 1,175 more votes than Pace, his nearest opponent, according to county vote counts as of Nov. 14.

Pace’s finish also appears unlikely to change. He pulled in 9,137 votes, or 26.05 percent of the 35,078 votes cast for individual candidates and counted as of Monday evening.

The latest counts show Doyle received 7,873 votes or 22.44 percent. Nadeau had 7,756 votes, or 22.11 percent—just 0.33 percent behind Doyle, according to the count on Monday.

The count will be updated twice daily, at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., until all ballots are counted.

Nadeau is director of operations at the nonprofit Navigator Schools, which runs public charter schools in Gilroy and Hollister.

After entering the race, he announced he was dropping out and would resign if elected because of a conflict of interest he said he found out about only after filing.

That is because the school board oversees and makes some decisions related to Navigator’s local charter, Gilroy Prep.

This year, for example, the board is expected to consider a request to renew the school’s charter to operate under the district’s auspices.

But Nadeau pulled out of the race after the deadline for his name to come off the ballot. When that happens, the county is not required to put a note on ballot materials or to in any way notify voters.

That meant voters could still pick him, which they did by the thousands despite news reports he was no longer an active candidate and would resign if elected.

A resignation would throw the seat on the seven-member board open to an appointment by the board for a two-year term.
 

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