Already a three-time victor in elections for the San Benito High School District Board of Trustees dating back more than a decade, 66-year-old Steve Delay was setting up for his first trustee area race for the Nov. 6 election.
However, with no challengers in Delay’s Trustee Area 3, the retired educator of 32 years does not have to start campaigning anytime soon. In fact, he, along with fellow incumbent Juan Robledo (Trustee Area 4) and newcomer Miguel Sahagun Jr. (Trustee Area 2), will not appear on the Nov. ballot and instead will be automatically appointed since they have no opposition.
Delay has a theory as to why.
“In the past, there’s been a lot of controversy about our board, administration and school overall, which brought in the forefront wanting to run,” Delay explained. “But in the past year and a half with a new administration and changes on the board, we are now operating so efficiently and people are seeing changes for the better.”
Namely, test scores are up and school facilities are getting needed upgrades, according to Delay.
“People are seeing positive things happening in the district and are not inclined to jump in because we are running like a well-oiled machine,” Delay said.
The veteran trustee also believes the shift from at-large to trustee-district elections may have impacted the amount of names in contention.
Many governing bodies for school and city, including the Morgan Hill City Council and Board of Education, have changed formats when an underrepresented group, backed by the California Voting Rights Act, makes the request. The objective is to give equal opportunity for minority groups to fill spots on governing bodies by breaking a district up into different areas where only members of those neighborhoods can vote for candidates that must live in the same area.
This would have been SBHS District’s first trustee area election.
“The idea of the trustee areas is that it would bring more people out,” Delay said. “But the last (at-large) election there were seven people running and this election there’s only three. I don’t think it brought the people it anticipated and I’m not sure if that will change down the road.”
Delay, Robledo and Sahagun Jr. will make up the SBHS District’s five-member board along with trustees John Corrigan and Patty Nehme.
The San Benito County Board of Education also had two uncontested district races with incumbent Joan Campbell-Garcia and first-timer Reb Monaco unopposed in their respective districts.
In the Hollister School District’s at-large election for three seats, voters will decide among six candidates.