San Bruno Park School District board members Kevin Martinez and Jennifer Blanco won their seats back Tuesday night, fending off the two challengers in the race, according to unofficial election results.
In addition to Martinez and Blanco, two other candidates were vying for the two open seats on the school board: Joseph Capote, a real estate agent, and Chuck Zelnik, a former school board member.
In the end, the two challengers couldn't get enough votes to keep up with the incumbents, who quickly gained the lead once initial ballots were counted and kept it throughout the evening.
For Martinez, 50, a systems engineer who has spent the last five years as a schools trustee and was board president for a year, he said this victory was gratifying because it showed that the voters still believe in the work the board is doing. Martinez got the most amount of votes, with 1,907 voters, or 33 percent of the ballots cast, supporting him.
"In these tough economic times for the district, we have tried to be good stewards and leaders," he said, as he was walking the streets late into the evening with his wife picking up campaign signs. "So I think the results kind of give a boost (to what we do)."
Blanco, 40, the current school board president, spent the night at Celia's celebrating with her five kids, family and friends.
While this will be her second term on the school board, she said, this race was different for her because she felt like she had to fight so hard for her position.
Ever since she first ran for office—and lost three times before being elected—Blanco has been very persistent, and she said that persistence will motivate her during her next term.
"I still have that (fight) in me because, when I hear, 'No,' I always ask why until it makes sense to me," she said.
Blanco said her first orders of business on the board will be to secure a grant for a youth violence prevention program she has been pushing and set up a transitional kindergarten program for the district. The transitional kindergarten program has been mandated by state Senate Bill 1381, which requires that children turn 5 years old before Nov. 1 for the 2012-13 school year, before Oct. 1 for the 2013-14 school year and eventually before Sept. 1 for the 2014-15 school year.
The bill was meant to give younger students more time for social, emotional and academic development before entering traditional kindergarten.
Here are the unofficial results of the race, as of 11:00 p.m. Tuesday, with all precincts reporting. In all, 3,719 ballots were cast.
San Bruno Park School District Board
Completed Precincts: 18 of 18