The Del Mar Union School District is currently accepting applications to fill the trustee position following the resignation of Scott Wooden. Applications are accepted until Thursday, April 6; The board will then interview and nominate a new trustee at a special board meeting on Tuesday, April 11.
At a meeting on March 15, the board decided whether to follow the appointment path or call a special election. If the board chooses a snap election, it can’t be held until November, meaning the board won’t have a member for seven months. Superintendent Holly McClurg said the wide range of election spending estimates provided by the San Diego County Voter Registrar was $375,000 to $700,000 due to the county’s 31,043 active registered voters.
The 2021 special election in nearby San Dieguito cost $187,428 but only included Area 5—Del Mar County is an election-at-large and has no Trustee Areas.
Board selection will be a provisional appointment until the next regular general election in 2024. At that time, candidates will run for a reduced two-year term until 2026.
Over the past 10 years, the board has used the appointment process three times in connection with her resignation: Erika Halpern was appointed in 2015 and Ji Wah Mok was appointed in 2019.
“Looking at the people sitting next to me, I think this process has worked well in the past,” trustee Doug Rafner said.
Board President Mok said he personally thought the most democratic solution would be to let the voters decide, but he favored the appointment because of the cost. Trustee Katherine Fitzpatrick agreed: “The funds are not what I want our district to spend money on.”
During public comment, Danielle Roybal, a candidate in the 2022 election that saw three incumbents re-elected (with Wooden receiving the most votes), spoke out in favor of her nomination for the vacancy. Roybal said she received enough votes, 4,821, to be chosen by the community as a trustee after sitting presidents.
Roybal said 80 letters had been sent to the board in the past month asking for her appointment, and two other members of the public spoke on her behalf that evening.
“We need a parent like Daniel Roybal on the board of directors,” said Maniza Sheikhani, who was also a candidate in the 2022 election. “We need an honest board member… someone who is positive and who is the link between the community and the neighborhood.”
Job applications are available online at dmusd.org and at the county office located at 11232 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley.