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Election: Union-backed candidates lead Banning school board races

By in Press Enterprise on November 8, 2017

By Craig Shultz

Two teachers’ union-backed candidates seeking seats on the Banning school board had the most votes when early election results were released Tuesday, Nov. 7 by the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.

Anne Price and Jason Smith had considerably more votes than their opponents in the race for two open seats.

Banning Unified School District trustees are elected by district. Three people ran in Trustee Area 5, which covers the northwest portion of the district. Two candidates sought the Area 1 seat, which represents the southwest. Only residents within the trustee area were allowed to vote.

With 23 percent of the votes counted in Area 1, Price, who is retired, had garnered 88 percent of the votes compared to 12 percent for John Bernades Kalani, an entertainment technician at Casino Morongo Resort and Spa.

In Area 5, where 50 percent of the votes had been counted, Smith, a power line technician, polled 57 percent of the votes to 26 percent for Mason Patterson, principal at Excel Prep Academy charter school in Moreno Valley and 14 percent for Gabriel Westholder, an engineer technician and coach.

At 8:30 p.m., the registrar said poll workers are performing legally required closing procedures at the polling places before ballots went to the collection center, then to the Registrar of Voters office for counting.

“Transporting ballots takes some time, so the number of counted ballots will not increase significantly for a few hours,” the office posted on Facebook.

The Banning Teachers Association has been at odds with the district, saying the board and administrators are not responsive.

“The goal is to get the board to work with parents and teachers,” Banning Teachers Association President Anthony Garcia said Tuesday night.

The teachers’ union and district are at an impasse over contract negotiations. The union has filed an unfair labor practices complaint, alleging that an hour […]    

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