UNION CITY -- Three incumbents won the race to retained their seats on the New Haven Unified School District board.

With most votes counted, Michelle Parnala Matthews was leading with 28.1 percent of the vote, Jonas Dino was second with 27.8 percent and Michael Ritchie was third after receiving 27.3 percent.

Newcomer Nick Fresquez was in fourth, trailing with nearly 16.4 percent of the vote.

Candidate debates have been dominated by the search for solutions to the cash-strapped district's budget woes, which have been fueled by the state's fiscal crisis.

Matthews, an employee with Alameda County Social Services, captured her second term. Dino, education specialist at NASA, has been a board member since 2000. Ritchie, a marketing consultant appointed to the board nearly a year ago, also is a board member of two grass-roots groups, the New Haven Schools Foundation and the New Haven Boosters Association.

During the campaign, Fresquez -- a retired AC Transit bus driver -- offered blistering and bombastic critiques of incumbent school board members and the nation's economic system.

In Newark, three school board candidates were assured of victory because they ran unopposed for three open seats. Incumbents Ray J. Rodriguez and Jan Crocker were re-elected, while newcomer Gary Stadler captured the seat vacated by Janice Schaefer, who chose not to run for re-election.

Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.