Two-term Palo Alto Board of Education member Melissa Baten Caswell appears to have been elected to her third term, based on unofficial election results from the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.
Since Tuesday night, she's been in a battle for the third open seat with current board President Heidi Emberling. Challengers Jennifer DiBrienza, a former teacher who billed herself as a much-needed educator's voice on the board, and Todd Collins, a private investor who made the school district's current budget deficit the focus of his campaign, came in first and second, respectively.
As of Thursday morning, Baten Caswell has received 9,748 votes to Emberling's 9,593, widening to 155 a gap that yesterday hovered around 40 votes. By Friday morning, the gap had narrowed slightly to 135 votes; by Saturday evening, it grew to 178.
Baten Caswell did not return a request for comment.
Emberling told the Weekly Thursday morning that she was not yet ready to concede, and planned to wait until more ballots are counted throughout the coming days. The Registrar of Voters reported Thursday that 64 percent of ballots had been counted, though all 48 precincts voting in the Palo Alto Unified School District race had reported as of 11 p.m. on Tuesday.
All vote-by-mail ballots and early-voting ballots received prior to Election Day have been counted, but “last minute” mail-in ballots are still being processed, the Registrar said Wednesday.
Emberling, a former journalist and now parent educator, was first elected to the board in 2012. Baten Caswell, a former business manager and now software firm CEO, first won a seat in 2007.
Baten Caswell is only the second school board member to seek a third term in the past 40 years. Fellow board member Camille Townsend, who decided not to run for re-election, is currently ending her third term.
The Registrar will continue to post election results on its website twice daily, around 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
The Palo Alto Weekly has created a Storify page to capture ongoing coverage of the school-board election. To view it, go to storify.com/paloaltoweekly.