Who's Running For the School Board?
West County Union High School District will elect its trustees to represent geographic areas
This year’s November elections for West County High School District Board of Trustees will be unlike previous elections. In December 2021, the Board of Trustees agreed that future school board trustees would represent specific geographic areas and be elected by voters in that area. West County was divided into five areas, each with roughly equal numbers of voters. Here’s a map that focuses in on the Areas 2-5; Area 1 is the largest area geographically, extending out to the coast.
Areas 1, 3 and 5 are up for election in 2022; 2 and 4 will not be up for election until 2024. There is also one additional at-large board seat, which is also open this year. In total, there are four seats up for election this year.
Previously all voters in the district elected the Board of Trustees, with the top vote-getters filling the available number of seats.
Candidates must now reside in the area they will represent and voters in each area will have the opportunity to elect a single trustee. This also means that school board races could be head-to-head contests.
So far, two people have registered to run for trustee at WCUHSD.
Debbie Ramirez, who served for nine years as a trustee for Sebastopol Union School District, is running for the at-large seat.
Lewis Buchner, a woodworker who runs a design/build studio, is running for Area 5.
The deadline for registering to run is August 8th. WCUHSD has more detailed information on the “transition to by-trustee area election. To look at who has registered to run for WCUHSD or other school boards in the county, go to the County Registrar of Voters elections page. (There are many school board across the county that are looking for people to run.) The election will be held November 8, 2022.
We probably won’t know until the deadline passes whether any of the incumbent trustees will run. Because they have to run in the area where they live, it’s possible that one incumbent would face off against another if both live in the same area. However, there is no information on the WCUHSD website about which areas the current incumbents would represent.
Board President Patrick Nagle was appointed to his at-large seat, which is now up for election to fill the remainder of the term. If he does run, he will be challenged by Debbie Ramirez.
It’s not clear what happens if there is no candidate for an area, such as Area 1. Area 4 includes Forestville where parents initiated a recall of the school board over the closing of El Molino. This change to trustees by-area representation was passed to accommodate that group of parents who felt they lacked representation on the school board. However, Forestville will not have its own trustee until after the 2024 election.
We will continue to follow this election and talk to the candidates once the slate is finalized. Remember, there’s still time to decide to run and fill out the papers to register for a local school board or other office.