Initial results show Orange County Board of Education’s conservative majority was defending their seats against challengers that could break their hold over the panel.
As of 8:06 p.m., here are the results released by the Orange County Registrar of Voters.
OC Board of Education
Area 2, which runs along the coast from Seal Beach to parts of Newport Beach, had incumbent Mari Barke leading with just under 58% of the 36,405 votes counted so far.
Area 4, which covers cities including La Habra, Fullerton, Buena Park, and parts of Garden Grove and Westminster, had Tim Shaw leading with 48.4% of the 31,181 votes counted so far. Paulette Chaffee is behind him with 32% of the vote.
Area 5, which covers everything south of Lake Forest and parts of Newport Beach, had incumbent Lisa Sparks leading with 61.6% of the 61,474 votes counted so far.
Incumbent Al Mijares was leading the race for his seat, with 60.7% of the 214,114 votes cast so far, leaving his opponent Stefan Bean with just under 40% of the vote.
The board and superintendent are both elected in the primary, meaning there won’t be a runoff election in November.
The board handles the approval of charter schools, inter district transfer requests and approves the department of education’s annual budget, but the county’s 28 individual district boards handle most of the day-to-day curriculum and other management.
The superintendent is responsible for managing the Orange County Department of Education, which includes providing legal advice to districts, reviewing their annual budgets, and a host of other roles.
The board of education and superintendent races have been put under a microscope this year in a way they’ve never had to face before.
The board majority served as the catalyst for that attention, drawing local and even national media attention over its positions against masking and other COVID-19 restrictions with studies and lawsuits against Gov. Gavin Newsom that were tossed out in court.
To read how the board candidates answered Voice of OC’s questions, click here.
That also put eyes on the strained relationship between the board and Mijares, who the board has sued multiple times arguing they should have more control of the department of education’s budget.
Nearly all of the challengers in this year’s campaign promised to end those lawsuits and restore a focus on the classroom, calling out the current board for politicizing the position.
Mijares’ stance against the board also spurred his first ever challenger, Stefan Bean, a close ally of Barke who said his top goal if elected is to execute the board’s vision and support charter schools.
To read how the superintendent candidates answered Voice of OC’s questions, click here.
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