Paso Robles school board race is a close one

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comNovember 6, 2012 

Just months after the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District confronted a serious budget shortfall, the school board will have a new lineup to address past furloughs, class cuts and layoffs.

With four seats up for grabs, Joel Peterson led all candidates. With all precincts reporting, the three other candidates elected to the board were Joan Summers, David Lambert and Chris Bausch. However, Tim Gearhart trailed Bausch by just seven votes.

Robert Simola and Nicolette Harley trailed the pack.

Incumbents Debi Saunders and Ruben Tate decided not to run for re-election. That guaranteed that the board would have at least two new members.

The two incumbents who did run, Gearhart and Simola, are both former teachers in the Paso Robles school system who also worked with student teachers at Cal Poly.

While the other candidates were not teachers or past board members, all of them had been volunteers in the community.

The district’s test scores have improved over the past several years. The new board will work to maintain that progress despite cuts in state spending and declining enrollment. It will also have to address past furloughs and layoffs that were made necessary when threatened by the possibility of a state takeover.

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