Get informed on the Nov. 8 local election

Read Santa Cruz Local's Election Guide

We break down the local races and ballot measures.
Get informed on the Nov. 8 local election

Meet the candidates

Scroll right and click each photo to learn more about the candidates. Olivia Flores and Jennifer Holm did not respond to requests for comment.

Background on Pajaro Valley Unified School District board of trustees

The Pajaro Valley Unified School District board of trustees is elected by district voters to provide leadership and oversight of the district’s schools. The board has the power to:

  • Set budgets for the district, including teacher pay.
  • Hire and fire the superintendent.
  • Develop goals for programs.
  • Set policies and approve staffing related to mental health, campus safety and other areas. Read more about the board’s responsibilities.

Qualifications include:

  • An ability to manage complex school budgets and allocate resources equitably.
  • A willingness to work with other board members to craft policies.


  • Trustees may receive a monthly stipend of $400. Trustees are eligible to receive employee health insurance. The district covers the cost of premiums.

The Pajaro Valley Unified School District board has district elections. Each trustee is elected by voters in a geographical area. The trustee areas are:

  • Area 1: Corralitos, most of Aptos, and Aptos Hills.
  • Area 2: Salsipuedes and southeastern Watsonville.
  • Area 3: Northern Monterey County and southwestern Watsonville including part of Downtown.
  • Area 4: Southern Watsonville from Hushbeck Avenue to Main Street and surrounding areas.
  • Area 5: Northwestern Watsonville near Ramsay Park and neighboring areas.
  • Area 6: Freedom, Larkin Valley, Amesti and surrounding areas.
  • Area 7: La Selva Beach, Rio Del Mar, Seacliff and Pajaro Dunes.

Seats for trustee areas 1, 4, 5 and 7 are up in the Nov. 8 election.

For areas 4 and 7, only one candidate registered. Those seats will be seated automatically and those races will not appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

  • Trustee Area 4: Daniel Dodge Jr.
  • Trustee Area 7: Jennifer Holm

Voters in Area 1 will choose one of two candidates:

  • Kimberly De Serpa
  • Natalain Schwartz

Voters in Area 5 will choose one of two candidates:

  • Jennifer Schacher
  • Olivia Flores

What we heard from voters

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 candidates responded in writing. The candidates’ responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

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.

Read more about what Santa Cruz Local heard from voters.

—Kara Meyberg Guzman and Tim Haight

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