School Bell

Sandra Ocampo at a 2021 meeting of the Salinas Union High School District. After she was elected to the county Board of Education in November, she resigned from SUHSD.

Sandra Ocampo was a long-time trustee of the Salinas Union High School District, serving from 1991 to 2005, then again from 2015 to 2022. She resigned from the Area 6 seat last year after she won a position representing Area 7 on the board of the Monterey County Office of Education. Ocampo won with 73 percent of the vote against one opponent, Rick Giffin, who had dropped out of campaigning.

That leaves a vacancy, and SUHSD plans to appoint a trustee to serve the two-year remainder of Ocampo’s term. On Dec. 13, the board decided to appoint a candidate instead of holding a special election. (This is a common practice among public agencies seeking to save funds on special elections; in the past six months, the Salinas City Elementary School District and the cities of Soledad and Monterey have made appointments.)

In SUHSD’s Area 6, there are 7,952 registered voters. The cost for a special election would be up to $20 per voter, about $160,000. Area 6 represent parts of East and South Salinas. Students attend El Sausal and Washington middle schools and Salinas and Alisal high schools.

The district accepted applications between Dec. 16 and Jan. 6 from candidates seeking to fill the vacancy, and received two qualified applicants.

District officials are declining to release the identities of those candidates or their applications, and say the first step is to confirm if the applicants want to continue with the process.

The board is scheduled to interview the candidates at a Jan. 24 meeting, and may choose to appoint one of them. If no one is appointed that day, the district would hold a special election.

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