By MARTIN ESPINOZA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
In the final tally of November election ballots, Santa Rosa attorney Jenni Klose has won a seat on the Santa Rosa School Board, beating out fellow local attorney Brian Noble by 955 votes.
Klose received a total of 31,890 ballots for 17.5 percent of school board votes. Noble received 30,935 votes, according to the Sonoma County Registrar’s Office.
Incumbents Laura Gonzalez, Donna Jeye and Larry Haenel were the top vote getters, in that order.
“That was close! I am grateful for the public’s confidence,” said Klose via email Friday evening. “I am excited to officially get to work.”
Since the Nov. 6 election, county elections officials have been counting mail-in ballots that were received by mail or were dropped off on election day. The late count also included so-called provisional ballots.
Janice Atkinson, Sonoma County’s registrar of voters, said that while all ballots have been counted, the results are “uncertified” because final testing of the count has not been completed.
After election on Nov. 6, with absentee ballots and 168 precincts reporting, Santa Rosa attorney Jenni Klose led Brian Noble, also a Santa Rosa attorney, by 1,055 votes. The vote spread changed little in the final county.
Gonzalez received 44,879 or 24.7 percent of the vote, Donna Jeye received 38,359 or 21.1 percent and Larry Haenel 35,847 or 19.7 percent.
The board oversees the largest school district in Sonoma County. Shrinking budgets have forced school board members to take drastic measures, including eliminating six days from the current school year, the equivalent of a 3.25 percent pay cut to teachers.
Class sizes have also been increased, transportation funding slashed and the district’s reserve budget has dropped from 3 percent to 1 percent of total spending.
In total, the 16,500-student district cut $8.3 million from what had been a $130 million budget for 2012-13. School officials say the passage of Proposition 30, a state tax measure aimed at raising money for education, likely spared the district from having to cut millions more from the budget and eliminating more school days.
(You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)