Sirkay, an active parent volunteer, held a narrow lead over candidate and Bullis Charter School parent Ying Liu on election night, but pulled ahead in the early morning hours Wednesday. As of early Wednesday, Sirkay had 4,406 votes (22.8 percent), followed by Liu at 3,751 votes (19.4 percent). Shali is expected to win the seat on the board left by current board member Sangeeth Peruri, who opted not to run for re-election this year after his first term.
Ivanovic told the Voice Wednesday morning that board members Peruri and Jessica Speiser deserve a lot of credit for getting him and Sirkay to campaign hard in the months leading to Election Day, and that he really owed them his re-election. He said the results show voters appreciate the district's decisions and current leadership, at least to some extent, he said.
"Now the hard work begins," Ivanovic said. "We have to figure out what to do with Bullis Charter School and work with the city on how to work the 10th (school) site."
Ivanovic, Sirkay and Johnson are on the same page with regards to future plans to buy land for a school in the San Antonio neighborhood of Mountain View. They told the Voice during the campaign that the district needs more land to handle major housing growth in the fast-developing region of the city, and backed the complicated scheme for paying off astronomically high costs of acquiring the prime real estate.
None of the three candidates made explicit commitments for how to use the land, however, each arguing in favor of a slower but more transparent and deliberative process for deciding if the charter school or a new neighborhood school ought to be built on the new site. Ivanovic said that, as of early October, he leaned in favor of opening a neighborhood school at the site.
Tuesday night's leaders were the favorites among many current and former school board members, all three picking up endorsements from Peruri and school board member Steve Taglio and former board member Tamara Logan, along with Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian.
Liu, seen by many voters as the alternative candidate, had a more skeptical approach to the school district's future planning, stating she would be interested in "alternative" uses for the $150 million Measure N bond. This could include upgrading existing school sites rather than buying new land, running contrary to the district's yearslong strategy.
Liu's endorsements included a long list of charter school parents along with several residents known for taking a critical eye to the district's plans, including Los Altos Hills Mayor John Radford and Mountain View City Council member Margaret Abe-Koga.
Ivanovic expressed disappointment that the school board race involved spending so much this year, pointing specifically to Liu's campaign, which had raised $17,377 as of Oct. 20. He said he raised close to $9,000 in campaign funds to keep up and burned through all of it.
"If I didn't have that money I wouldn't be here now," he said. "And that's unfortunate, that that's the way things work."
The three winners will be sworn in at a time when peace between the district and Bullis Charter School is starting to fray, as both sides begin the antagonistic back-and-forth over enrollment growth and school facilities under the Proposition 39 process. The two parties ditched the process in favor of a five-year agreement that expires in June 30 next year, but failed to come to agreement on the terms by the Nov. 1 Proposition 39 deadline.
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