Adolfo Lopez and Charlene West were ahead Tuesday night in the first trustee-area elections held by Modesto City Schools.
With most of the precincts counted, Lopez had 59 percent of the vote in a three-way race in Area 7 in south Modesto. Ryan Schambers was second with 24 percent and Matthew Harrington had 17 percent. Lopez held a 270-vote lead over Schambers.
West was cruising to victory in the Area 5 race to determine who represents southeast Modesto and Empire. She had 57 percent to 23 percent for Rickey McGill and 20 percent for Michael Scheid.
Incumbent Cindy Marks and appointed incumbent Chad Brown were unopposed in Area 1 and Area 3, respectively. Marks will be the trustee for Salida and Del Rio and Brown will represent north Modesto and east Riverbank. West, central and northeast Modesto will have trustee elections in 2019.
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Lopez, 26, is a community outreach coordinator for a consulting firm and hopes to work with community groups to improve opportunities for students.
Another goal for Lopez is getting parents more involved with schools, and he wants to see more summer programs to ensure students are ready for classroom work in the fall.
“I am excited that our community came out and supported me,” Lopez said. “I am really excited that, if the results hold, I will be the representative from the area. I grew up in the community and went to school there. I am anxious to get working.”
West was pleased with the results. “I appreciate all of the people that I met with and all of the people who have supported me,” she said.
West is a middle school counselor for Sylvan Union School District. During the campaign, she said Modesto City Schools needs school board members with experience in public education.
Candidates in the two races said they were committed to helping disadvantaged students succeed in the classroom. By splitting the school district into seven trustee areas this year, the school board aimed to comply with the California Voting Rights Act, which is supposed to make it easier for minority communities to elect trustees.
Lopez said the election process was good for the community in south Modesto. “All of the candidates in our race really came together and exposed the issues that matter most to them.”
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321, @KenCarlson16