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ELECTION UPDATE: OUSD board — Griffen and Chandler winning; Measure K bond measure passes handily

web Shelly Griffen copy 2

 Photo submitted

Shelly Griffen

 

By Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter

Ojai Unified School District school board races and the Measure K school bond are all but decided, given the Nov. 5 vote updates.

Incumbent Shelly Griffen will keep her seat after a challenge by Chiany Dri in OUSD trustee Area 4, and newcomer Rebecca Chandler is the winner over Jeffrey Starkweather in Area 2.

As of the Nov. 5 vote count, the $45 million Measure K bond earned a resounding victory with 60.67 percent of voters (6,642 votes) saying yes, as opposed to the 39.33 percent of voters (4,305 votes) who said no.

 

Trustee Area 4

Also as of Nov. 5, Griffen held 65.06 percent of the vote (1,285 votes) compared with Dri’s 34.94 percent (690 votes).

Griffen said about her victory: “Thanks to you all for your support in this hard-fought win. I’m so grateful to this community for re-electing me to the school board and for passing Measure K. I'm so excited for the improvements coming to our district. Thank you for trusting me to continue advocating for our students.”

Dri said her campaign was about more than just winning a seat, but about the community. She said: “I feel good about the way things are, and positive for future change and future hope. My work continues. This isn’t the end, this is really just a beginning for me and the work that I plan to do in our community. So I feel positive, and I’m looking forward to supporting Shelly in her position as our school board member for the next four years.”

web Rebecca Chandler 4916

Photo submitted

Rebecca Chandler

 

Trustee Area 2

Chandler held 60.99 percent of the vote (1,157 votes) compared with the 39.01 percent (740 votes) garnered by Starkweather.

Since not all the votes have been counted yet, Chandler did not declare herself the winner of the race. However, she said: “When I saw the lead, I was ecstatic. I want to thank everyone who voted for me. I am particularly grateful for our community members who helped campaign, canvass, and fiscally support the process. I am honored and privileged to represent all students and stakeholders and will do my personal best to ensure our students, staff, and teachers feel supported in OUSD.”

Chandler said, assuming she holds her lead and becomes a school board member, she “hopes to ensure our budgets are tied to our goals, our goals are reflective of the community we serve, and our students get the options they deserve upon graduation to create powerful futures.”

Starkweather congratulated both Chandler and Griffen on their school board victories. He said: “I want to truly thank all the school advocates, parent leaders and concerned residents of the Ojai Valley who encouraged me to run for this seat. I want to especially thank everyone who supported my raising of critical issues facing our public schools. And I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my campaign platforms and used the information to guide their voting.”

Measure K $45 million school bond

Finally, Glenn Fout, principal officer of the Measure K for Kids committee, told the Ojai Valley News the passage was a big win for the students of OUSD. He said: “The district will be able to continue improving classrooms and fields and other learning environments on all of our public school campuses. So, I’m super happy that the vast majority of Ojai Valley voters saw that it was important, and saw fit to pass the measure.”

When asked what projects the Measure K funds should be prioritized for, Fout said he’d leave that to OUSD Bond Managers Adam Dutter and Alan White; Citizens Advisory Committee, school board and Superintendent Tiffany Morse.

However, Fout said: “There was a lot of talk during the campaign about a public pool. I’m old enough to remember when the district and the city recreation department worked together to provide a public swimming pool for kids in the Ojai Valley. I certainly hope that that’s going to be one of the outcomes of Measure K passing.”

 

The next Ventura County Elections Division vote count update will be Tuesday and Thursday afternoons through the 30-day canvassing period. Check the Elections Division for all the vote counts in Ventura County at:
https://recorder.countyofventura.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11//Summary-Report-2-Column_20201104003634620.pdf

 

 

 

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