ORANGE, CA—The turnout was low Tuesday at Jordan Elementary School, but those who did show up to vote certainly knew why they were there.
Clutching sample ballots and strong opinions, voters in the Orange Unified School District went to the polls at sites such as Jordan to choose from among 11 candidates vying for four school board seats.
“I’m voting for the candidates who support English immersion,” said Willa Becker, a senior citizen who cast her vote at Jordan at about dusk. “That’s why it was important to me to make the effort. “
Becker said she voted for the candidates who most strongly supported the current board’s decision to end the district’s bilingual-education program: incumbent board President Martin Jacobson, Terri Sargeant, Kathy Ward and Linda Davis.
Her views were not shared by several other voters. “The district’s in trouble,” said Delores Klepich, 56, who said she opposed the board’s bilingual decision. “Without a bilingual program, the rest of the kids are slowed down. “
Parent Nancy Just, a member of a group that sponsored candidate forums, said she punched her ballot for candidates who opposed the majority.
“I voted for the ones I thought were better people who had our children’s education at heart,” she said.
Richard Elgenson, 40, said he voted against Jacobson and the other candidates who support the current board majority because he viewed the board as too controversial and contentious. “We need some people who can bring calm to the situation,” he said.
Shortly before 6 p.m., poll workers at Jordan said 175 of 1,290 registered voters had cast ballots, a turnout of 14 percent.