Voters complete their ballots Nov. 8, 2022 at the New Brighton Middle School gym in Capitola. (Natalya Dreszer — Santa Cruz Local) 

Last county update: 11/23/2022 4:00:00 PM

San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District, Trustee Area 4 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
RYAN LIPERT3969 (38.75%)
GAIL D. LEVINE6205 (60.58%)

Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Trustee Area 1 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
KIMBERLY A. DE SERPA4257 (62.91%)
NATALAIN SCHWARTZ2467 (36.46%)

Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Trustee Area 5 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
JENNIFER SCHACHER1219 (47.21%)
OLIVIA FLORES1343 (52.01%)

Scotts Valley Unified School District (vote for 2)

CandidateTotal
PATRICIA ADAMS2711 (19.55%)
LUCIA ROCHA-NESTLER5147 (37.11%)
ROGER L. SNYDER4335 (31.26%)
COREY WARNER1619 (11.67%)

Happy Valley Elementary School District (vote for 3)

CandidateTotal
RACHEL CLICK RICHARDSON479 (28.89%)
CLIFFORD HODGES464 (27.99%)
JACOB ZILS WILLET510 (30.76%)
EDWARD "TEDDY" WOOD194 (11.7%)

Soquel Union Elementary School District, Trustee Area 4 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
PHIL RODRIGUEZ1226 (57.8%)
JUSTIN MAFFIA882 (41.58%)

SANTA CRUZ >> Kimberly De Serpa and Olivia Flores held their leads in Pajaro Valley Unified School District trustee races, according to results updated this week. Lucia-Rocha Nestler and Roger Snyder remained ahead in the Scotts Valley Unified School District race and Phil Rodriguez led in the Soquel Union Elementary School District race.

Staff of the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s Office is expected to update the results several times this month. The election is expected to be certified by early December.

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Santa Cruz Local talked to 29 Pajaro Valley Unified School District voters, residents and students in interviews and an online survey. Their most common questions were taken to the candidates.

The top themes raised by Pajaro Valley Unified School District voters, residents and students were:

  • Teacher pay raises.
  • Plans to keep school campuses safe from gun violence.
  • Healthier options for school lunches.
  • A need for more after-school activities.

Here are where the top vote-getters stand on residents’ priorities. Responses are based on candidates’ written questionnaire responses.

Last county update: 11/23/2022 4:00:00 PM

Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Trustee Area 1 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
KIMBERLY A. DE SERPA4257 (62.91%)
NATALAIN SCHWARTZ2467 (36.46%)

Trustee Area 1 includes Corralitos, most of Aptos, and Aptos Hills.

Kimberly De Serpa (Contributed)

  • De Serpa said during her 12 years on the Pajaro Valley Unified School District board, she has supported teacher raises and no changes.
  • De Serpa said she advocated and voted “to have every classroom lock rekeyed to ‘Columbine’ style locks so teachers could lock their doors from the inside, thereby creating a barricade.” She also supported active shooter training for teachers and staff. She voted to restore the school resource officer position to Pajaro Valley Unified School District campuses.
  • De Serpa described after-school programs in elementary schools as “robust.”
  • De Serpa said that in her 12 years as a board member, the district has expanded its healthy food options for students.
Read Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide on the Pajaro Valley Unified School District race
Last county update: 11/23/2022 4:00:00 PM

Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Trustee Area 5 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
JENNIFER SCHACHER1219 (47.21%)
OLIVIA FLORES1343 (52.01%)

Trustee Area 5 includes northwestern Watsonville near Ramsay Park and neighboring areas.

Olivia Flores runs a construction and design business. Flores did not respond to requests for comment.

Last county update: 11/23/2022 4:00:00 PM

Soquel Union Elementary School District, Trustee Area 4 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
PHIL RODRIGUEZ1226 (57.8%)
JUSTIN MAFFIA882 (41.58%)

Trustee Area 4 for the Soquel Union Elementary School District includes part of Capitola, near New Brighton Middle School and eastern areas of the school district.

Santa Cruz Local interviewed 16 Soquel Union Elementary School District voters in August. Their most common questions were taken to the candidates.

The top themes raised by Soquel Union Elementary School District voters were:

  • Teacher pay raises.
  • A need for more mental health support for students.

Here is how Phil Rodriguez, the leading candidate, stands on residents’ priorities. Responses are based on candidates’ written questionnaire responses.

Phil Rodriguez (C. Neff — Contributed)

  • Rodriguez is the incumbent. He wrote that he “will work to keep our budget balanced and provide our staff with a competitive income.” He wrote that it will be “difficult” and creativity will be necessary.
  • On a need for more mental health services, Rodriguez wrote, “Our goal is to provide on-site counseling services at each of our campuses. But that is not sufficient. Without properly trained staff students would not receive comprehensive attention. Professional development is the key.”
Read Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide on the Soquel Union Elementary School District race
Last county update: 11/23/2022 4:00:00 PM

Scotts Valley Unified School District (vote for 2)

CandidateTotal
PATRICIA ADAMS2711 (19.55%)
LUCIA ROCHA-NESTLER5147 (37.11%)
ROGER L. SNYDER4335 (31.26%)
COREY WARNER1619 (11.67%)

Santa Cruz Local talked to 11 Scotts Valley Unified School District students and voters in interviews and an online survey. Their most common questions were taken to the candidates.

The top themes raised by Scotts Valley Unified School District students and voters were:

  • Teacher pay raises.
  • Plans to increase school safety.
  • Address bullying in schools.
  • A need for more after-school activities.

Here is how the leading candidates stands on residents’ priorities, based on candidates’ written questionnaire responses.

Roger Snyder (Katie Cleese Photography — Contributed)

  • Roger Snyder is an incumbent. Regarding after-school programs, he wrote, “I am all for finding effective partnerships, such as our partnership with the Scotts Valley Boys & Girls Club, to help provide our students with expanded after-school programs. Any ideas that provide more opportunities at a low cost are things I would definitely consider.”But based on my experience with our school finances, we have to be sure our priorities drive our funding decisions. Right now our needs to increase teacher salaries, address our aging school facilities issues, support students getting over COVID-induced learning losses, and funding our diversity, equity and inclusion initiative are higher priorities.”
  • On a need to address bullying and problems with social media, Snyder wrote, “In my experience, culture changes slowly. So, the role of a good school board is to maintain an ongoing focus on these issues, so that we can transform our district over time to be the diverse and equitable place we want it to be.”
  • Snyder listed several approaches to attract and retain teachers with higher pay, including advocacy at the California School Board Association (CSBA) Delegate Assembly for Scotts Valley Unified School District to receive a higher share of state money.

Lucia Rocha-Nestler, the other top vote getter, did not respond to requests for comment. Rocha-Nestler described some of her priorities in an application for appointment to a vacant seat.

Read Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide on the Scotts Valley Unified School District race

Read more about early results:

Santa Cruz County election results

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Kara Meyberg Guzman is the CEO and co-founder of Santa Cruz Local. ​Prior to Santa Cruz Local, she served as the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s managing editor. She has a biology degree from Stanford University and lives in Santa Cruz.