Local Elections

Union backed candidate wins Elk Grove Unified seat

Crystal Martinez-Alire easily won a seat on the Elk Grove Unified School board Tuesday, beating her nearest opponent by 9,000 votes.

The candidate, an education coordinator at Shingle Springs Rancheria, was endorsed and her campaign heavily financed by the district’s teachers union.

Martinez-Alire won 49.4 percent of the vote, educator Jame Letoa 20 percent of the vote, manager Nicholas Webster 17.4 percent of the vote and business security consultant Tim Gorsulowsky 12.8 percent of the vote with portions of all precincts reporting.

The new board member will fill the Area 2 seat that has been held by Jeanette Amavisca since 1981. Amavisca and fellow board member Priscilla Cox, who has served on the board for 20 years, have decided to retire. Beth Albiani automatically won the Area 5 seat held by Cox because there were no other challengers.

Incumbent Bobbie Singh-Allen also retained her Area 4 seat with no challengers.

The election could change the dynamics on a board that has been divided since the election two years ago that brought in three new board members, including Steve Ly who was elected to the Elk Grove City Council Tuesday. The school board will have to appoint a new member to Ly’s Area 6 seat or call for a special election.

The new board members will have to deal with a spurt of growth that is expected to require 54 new schools –40 elementary schools, seven middle schools and seven high schools –over the next few decades. A recent update to the school district’s master facilities plan shows a projected student population of 110,000 in 20 years. The district boundaries include the city of Elk Grove, as well as sections of south Sacramento and Rancho Cordova.

Board members in the 62,000-student district receive $750 per month and the same health benefits provided to school district employees.

Call The Bee’s Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert.