Schneider wins final EUSD seat

ENCINITAS — Leslie Schneider has defeated Encinitas Union School District incumbent Patricia Sinay for the second and final seat available on the five-member board.

With less than 30,000 votes countywide remaining to be counted, Schneider’s lead of 516 votes is likely insurmountable, The Coast News has determined.

Sinay led the race on election night, but Schneider steadily closed the gap as the registrar counted mail and provision ballots before she finally took the lead two weeks ago.

Scheider joins Rimga Viskanta, who is currently the top vote recipient in the contested election, as the victors in the four-candidate race. Anne-Katherine Pingree, who campaigned with Schneider, finished in fourth place.

Schneider campaigned in tandem with fellow parentPingree on a shared platform of transparency and fiscal responsibility after following district affairs over the past two years and coming to the conclusion that the current school governance falls short in both categories.

Both came to prominence during the summer, when they spearheaded a protest over a proposal by the district to earmark $800,000 to save the district’s yoga-based health and wellness program, which had previously been paid for by large grants from a foundation.

The district ultimately adopted an alternative funding plan.

Schneider and Pingree made news when they each received a $10,000 campaign contribution from a wealthy parent, which is believed to be the largest contribution in the district’s election history and raised questions about the ethics of accepting unusually large donations in small down-ballot races.

Viskanta and Schneider join a board that includes longtime trustee Marla Strich, as well as Gregg Sonken and Emily Andrade, who were re-elected to second terms in 2014. Carol Skiljian, the senior member of the board, is retiring after her sixth term in office.

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