HAYWARD -- Voters selected newcomers Lisa Brunner and William McGee to four-year terms on the school board, while appointed incumbent Jesus Armas won a close race to secure a two-year seat.
With all the votes counted, Armas ended up with about 44 percent of the vote, a little more than 2 percentage points more than challenger Annette Walker, who led Armas by a small margin early in the night. Lawrence Fitzpatrick was far behind Walker and Armas all night, ending up with 14 percent of the vote.
In the four-year race, incumbent Sheila Sims garnered only 17 percent of the vote and former Assemblywoman Audie Bock, about 19 percent in losing to McGee, who received 25 percent, and Brunner, who had more than 26 percent of the vote.
Sue Lafferty rounded out the field of four-year candidates, mustering only 12 percent of the vote.
Fitzpatrick failed to mount a visible campaign. He was a candidate with close ties to trustee Luis Reynoso, who often butts heads with Armas and other seated board members. Walker ran as a newcomer who said she would bring needed change to the board.
Armas was appointed to the board in the spring after the departure of Sarah Gonzales.
The new members will join Reynoso and Maribel Heredia on the board. Board President Paul Frumkin III did not seek re-election.
The board faces the daunting task of leading a district that hasn't been able to submit a balanced budget to the county, making the district a candidate for possible state takeover. In addition to money woes, Hayward test scores have been among the lowest in the county and the board has been said to be out of touch with the community.
While Armas and Sims sought to continue a turnaround path laid out by Superintendent Janis Duran, their challengers cited a range of reasons for running.
Bock has said corruption is rife within the administration, while Fitzpatrick echoed Reynoso's accusations of nepotism on behalf of Armas.
Brunner said she would bring the input of an "active, civically minded parent" to the board, while Lafferty said her long history as a teacher in the district made her the most qualified candidate.
McGee said he'd help foster a closer connection between parents, teachers and students and would seek to cure "root problems" that lead to truancy and unsafe schools.
Walker said the current slate needs to be wiped clean, and stressed transparency, accountability and "new ideas," such as charter schools, voucher programs and merit pay.