School Board Candidates Vie for Three Seats

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Local teens work the phone bank for School Board candidates
Local teens work the phone bank for School Board candidates

By Victoria Kertz | NB Indy

 Three of the seven seats on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education will be determined in the November 8 General Election in Newport Beach.

Trustee Area 1 in Costa Mesa and Areas 3 and 6 in Newport Beach each see incumbents battling challengers for seats.

While only these areas are up for election this year, all registered voters living within the school district will have a say in the outcome.

The Board of Education is the governing body for the district with seven elected members. Newport-Mesa Unified has approximately 22,000 students and 32 schools.

In Area 1, incumbent Vicki Snell’s seat is being challenged by Michael Schwarzmann, a financial advisor.

Snell is running for her first four-year term. She was appointed to the position in 2014 when David Brooks left to pursue charity

Vicki Snell
Vicki Snell

work, then ran for a two-year term and defeated Steve Smith for the seat that same year.

Snell currently serves as the Board Clerk and is endorsed by State Senator John Moorlach and Scott Paulsen, Newport-Mesa Schools Foundation Vice-President and retired NMUSD Principal. Schwarzmann is endorsed by the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers.

Area 3 businesswoman Amy Peters hopes to unseat Martha Fluor, the trustee since 1991.

Peters and the other challengers proposed term limits for trustees at the June Board of Education meeting, but the board voted to discuss it again in January – after the November election.

Peters is endorsed by the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers, while Fluor is endorsed by Senator John Moorlach, Assemblyman Matthew Harper, and several local community leaders.

Michael Schwarzmann and Amy Peters canvassing on Halloween
Michael Schwarzmann and Amy Peters canvassing on Halloween

Current Board President and trustee of Area 6 since 1996, Dana Black seeks re-election against educator Leslie Bubb.

Bubb’s home has been the campaign’s hub of phone banking for all three challengers in the school board race. The phone volunteers are all local teens.

“It’s been a great learning experience in civic responsibility, as well as the election process,” said Yolonda Newton, who works on their campaign.

Bubb is endorsed by Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers and the Democratic Party of Orange County.

Since the election is at-large, candidates may campaign throughout the district, not just in their respective area. The seat challengers will be using the last weekend before Election Day to campaign around Lincoln, Andersen, and Harbor View elementary schools, Newton confirmed.

Area 1 trustee Snell said she would be campaigning this weekend too. “I believe it is important for each trustee to listen to the concerns of their community, as well as the concerns of the district.”

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