Orange school board incumbents home free?

EDUCATION: No election challengers have emerged yet.

ORANGE, CA—If no challengers file to run for seats on the Orange Unified School District board by Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, the three incumbents seeking re-election automatically will win new terms without facing voters.

The three are Maureen Aschoff, Bob Viviano and Bill Lewis.

Orange County’s registrar of voters said that through Wednesday, no challengers had taken out filing papers to run for the seven-member board.

Board member Aschoff said she is surprised by the lack of candidates. “We always have strong contestants in our district.

Orange Unified always has a lot of emotion during elections. “

The district is grappling with teachers’ contract negotiations, crowded classrooms, bilingual education and possible changes in its math program.

Board member Bill Lewis said the lack of interest doesn’t surprise him.

“I think people are happy with the direction of the board,” he said. “If people passionately hate what we’re doing, I’m sure they would challenge us. People are thinking, ‘If there’s no fire in the belly, do I really want to run? ‘ ” Gisela Meier, a critic of the board who ran unsuccessfully in the previous election, said there is discontent among parents and she was disappointed no one had surfaced to challenge board members this year.

Meier acknowledged that challengers face a tough road.

“I waited until the last day to file,” she said. “It’s not easy to run against an incumbent. It takes a lot of time and money, and it can be very frustrating. “



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