Local Elections

Two newcomers in tight race for second San Juan Unified seat

Trustee Greg Paulo is on his way to securing another term on the San Juan Unified School District board, while the back-and-forth battle between two newcomers for the remaining seat remains ever so close.

In the latest Sacramento County tally released Thursday afternoon, retired education administrator Michael McKibbin seized a 185-vote lead – 0.22 percentage points – over real estate broker Michael Miller for the second spot up for election. McKibbin and Miller each have nearly 21 percent of the vote, while Paulo has a strong lead with 24 percent.

Five candidates competed for two at-large spots in the San Juan election. Miller led McKibbin in the final Election Day count by a similarly narrow margin, but that order reversed Thursday after Sacramento County elections officials began counting mail and provisional ballots that voters submitted at polling places.

Both candidates said during the campaign that San Juan needs to encourage strong teachers to serve in low-performing schools. The suburban Sacramento County district of 49,000 students has faced increasing challenges with poverty, English learners and aging campuses.

Miller, 47, said the district should consider giving teachers a bonus to work in schools where students need extra support, and he believes the charter school movement has helped innovate campuses. He said a June court decision that declared two-year tenure rules, layoff procedures and seniority-based layoffs unconstitutional was “a good thing.”

McKibbin, 71, said the court decision could give the district a chance to “rebalance” classrooms with experienced teachers mentoring new teachers. He lamented that the most senior teachers tend to gravitate toward campuses with the strongest academic records.

Neither received the endorsement of the San Juan Teachers Association, which backed Paulo and legislative consultant Paula Villescaz, who is in fifth with 17 percent of the vote. Communications business owner Michael Alcalay is fourth with 18 percent.

Call The Bee’s Kevin Yamamura, (916) 326-5548.