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Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees gets two new faces

Posted: Thursday, Nov 8th, 2012

WATSONVILLE — The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees will be getting two new members, with longtime members Sandra Nichols recently elected to the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, and Doug Keegan opting not to run for his seat.

Lupe Rivas, who ran unopposed, was appointed to Keegan’s Trustee Area 2 seat in lieu of election.

Incumbent Karen Osmundson, who was running against business owner Elsa Nuñez for the Trustee Area 3 seat, reclaimed her seat with nearly 57 percent of the vote.

Maria Orozco won the Trustee Area 6 seat, beating opponent Antonio Rivas with 54 percent of the vote.

I’m relieved,” Orozco said. “I think we put up a good fight. I’m definitely looking forward to working with the board.”

Orozco, who works as a financial aid and scholarship advisor at UC Santa Cruz, said she wants to work with the district’s scholarship committee and expand outreach for PVUSD students to colleges and universities.

Orozco also said she wants to encourage parents to become involved with the district, and hopes to once again televise the twice-monthly board meetings.

The trustees voted to eliminate the broadcasts in 2008, a budget reduction move that saved the district $9,000 per year. “I think its beneficial,” she said. “I think people watch it, and its an excellent way of keeping residents informed.”

Osmundson said she put a lot of work into the campaign, noting that she and Orozco were the only candidates in any local Watsonville race that faced any opposition.

Osmundson said she wants the new board to work on implementing the district’s master plan for teaching English language learners, and boost parental involvement and target future budget cuts on areas that don’t affect teachers or classified employees.

She considered not running for the seat, but said she had previously assured her constituents she would find someone who shares her political philosophy before she decided not to run.

Osmundson has sat on the board since 2004 and has often found herself on the board minority on several controversial votes.

Speaking to the crowd on Tuesday night at Democratic Headquarters in Watsonville, Lupe Rivas asked for people to “be involved and a part of the solution — not the problem.”

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