Despite an impressive number of votes and neighborhood support for a team of challengers, the three incumbents on the Newport-Mesa Unified School Board will retain their trustee positions for the next four years.
Martha Fluor, trustee of Area 3 since 1991, beat out businesswoman Amy Peters by just 1,315 votes.
Vicki Snell defeated financial advisor Michael Schwarzmann by 8,909 votes in Costa Mesa’s Area 1.
Dana Black and board president held onto her seat against educator Leslie Bubb by 3,897 votes in Area 6.
The three challengers, who ran as a team, did not know each other before starting their campaign.
“One new voice on the board wasn’t going to be effective,” said Bubb. “It would take a block of us, a collective voice, to make a difference.”
Although the trio campaigned together as a slate, each contributed their own perspective.
“We are not three like-minded people,” said Schwarzmann. “We all have different backgrounds and approaches. But as parents with children in Newport-Mesa schools, we all experience the outcomes of school board decisions.”
The candidates held several events and spoke on topics that resonated with voters. The biggest issue? Math.
According to the three challengers, 50 percent of certain grades in Newport-Mesa are not proficient in math. Returning to a traditional math textbook and improving math scores were among their top goals.
On Election Night, Schwarzmann, Peters, and Bubb were surrounded by friends and family as the results came in. They ate homemade chili and cornbread, and shared stories of the voters they met while knocking on doors.
“Anyone who has a child in an area we canvassed, they knew the challenges,” Peters said. “We are so grateful for the support we received.”
The board will convene next on Nov. 15 at the district education center, 2985 Bear Street, in Costa Mesa.