HAYWARD — A push for a special election to install a temporary schools trustee failed to garner the required signatures, meaning Jesus Armas will keep the post until the regular November election.
The Alameda County Office of Education announced Friday that Armas' appointment will hold. The Hayward Unified School District board selected the former city manager on March 17 to replace Sarah Gonzales, who left her post because of health and family reasons.
A group calling itself Better Hayward started a petition drive to collect 1,015 signatures that would force an election.
Group member and former state legislator Audie Bock said they never were clearly told when the signatures needed to be submitted, and by the April 16 deadline, they only had a little over 100.
"There was some evasion from the beginning," she said. "It was never spelled out. We did not know (county officials) were considering the 17th (actually the 16th because April 17 fell on a Saturday) the deadline until after it was over."
Bock was one of the 10 trustee candidates who turned in an application and interviewed before the school board last month.
She said the process was "flawed and corrupt" and that there is a conflict of interest in Armas' appointment because his wife has a manager position within the district.
An attorney for the district told trustees there would be no conflict as long as Armas recuses himself from decisions that would
Alameda County schools Superintendent Sheila Jordan said an election would have cost the district $388,488 and be "fiscally irresponsible" given the deep cuts that are already on the table.
"We're talking about programs and kids, and the idea of spending close to $400,000 in schools' money for an election is not a good use, no matter the principle," Jordan said.
Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473.