Two seats on the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education will be contested, while an incumbent will run unopposed in a Nov. 5 election that will see school politics share ballot space with other local races for the first time in recent memory.
In District 1 on the city’s east side, incumbent Steven Carrillo, who has been on the board since 2011, faces Carmen Gonzales, a longtime educator and former vice president at Santa Fe Community College.
In District 2, Maureen Cashmon’s decision to step down after one term opened up a race between 39-year-old Sarah Boses, a Santa Fe High graduate and oncology nurse, and 72-year-old John Triolo, a retired educator who currently is on the board of The Masters Program, a state charter school.
Rudy Garcia, who represents District 4 on the city’s south side and is also a Santa Fe County Commissioner, will run unopposed.
Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to file with the County Clerk.
In years past, school board elections have been held in early February, but with the move to November, officials expect a boost in voter participation for races that had drawn relatively few voters.
“All I can say is turnout is going to go up. When you consolidate elections on the same day, more people will come out to vote,” Santa Fe County County Clerk Geraldine Salazar said. “And that’s in the best interest of the taxpayer and the voters and everyone.”
Carrillo, 59, won his first four-year term in a four-way contest in 2011. At the time, only 10 percent of 16,000 registered voters in the district cast ballots. He said he expects voter turnout to increase to about 15 percent now that the election is in November.
“In the upcoming election, you might have people that never voted in school board elections before and have no idea who you are,” Carrillo said. “The result of that is an increase in the cost to run a competitive race.”
In the Pojoaque Valley School District, incumbent Toby Velasquez, deputy director for New Mexico State Parks, will run unopposed in District 1. In District 2, Felix Benavidez, a social worker in the district who served on the school board in the 1990s, will face off against incumbent Jeffrey Atencio, the current board vice president.
In District 3, incumbent Fernando Quintana will face Adam Muller, a retired battalion chief with the Los Alamos County Fire Department who now works as a paramedic with Española Valley Emergency Medical Services.
At Santa Fe Community College, board members Martha Romero and Kathy Keith are not running for reelection. In Position 3, Ruth Howes will face Jody Pugh, a supervisor with the Department of Energy at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
In Position 5, David Dannenber a software engineer and technology entrepreneur, will face Miguel Angel Acosta, a co-director at local nonprofit Earth Care, and Pier Quintana.