Collection boxes for vote-by-mail ballots on display at the Oakland Public Library. Credit: Amir Aziz

The leading candidates in each of the three races for the Oakland Unified School District board maintained their positions following the latest release of votes from the Alameda County registrar on Monday afternoon—one with a comfortable lead, and the two others locked in tight contests. 

In District 2, retired teacher Jennifer Brouhard leads with roughly 51% of the first-place votes over David Kakishiba, the executive director of the East Bay Asian Youth Center, who has 35%. The third candidate, parent Max Orozco, trails in third place with about 14% of the vote.

“We ran a good campaign, and Max and David also ran good campaigns,” Brouhard said to The Oaklandside on Monday. “It was about the issues and people placed their votes in wanting to see an end to school closures and funding our schools.”

Brouhard said she would wait to make any declarations until all the votes are counted. So far, 7,670 votes have been counted in the District 2 race. In 2018, nearly 18,000 ballots were cast for school board there. In a phone call with The Oaklandside last week, Kakishiba acknowledged that Brouhard’s lead was probably insurmountable.

In District 4, about 1,000 first-place votes separate candidate Nick Resnick, who is leading, from Mike Hutchinson, the current District 5 school board director. Ranked-choice tabulations so far show an even closer race, with Resnick receiving about 51% of the vote to Hutchinson’s 49%. 

“I’m definitely not feeling celebratory, just continuing to wait because it feels really close,” Resnick said Monday. “It’s going to be a long week.”

If District 4 voters cast a similar number of votes as they did in 2018, there could be about 10,000 more ballots to count. The Alameda County registrar has not announced what proportion of ballots are left to count in the school board races.

Labor organizer Valarie Bachelor maintained her modest lead in the District 6 race over Kyra Mungia, the current District 6 director who was appointed in June to replace Shanthi Gonzalez, who resigned. The two candidates are currently separated by less than 4%, or fewer than 300 votes. Bachelor told The Oaklandside that she’s cautiously optimistic, and that the race is still too close to call.

“I really want to make sure the democratic process continues,” she said. “I’ve been doing this work for a long time and getting folks to go out and vote is one of the pinnacles of our democracy. We need to allow that process to happen and not get overly excited about preliminary results.”

Ashley McBride reports on education equity for The Oaklandside. She covered the 2019 Oakland Unified School District teachers’ strike as a breaking news reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. More recently, she was an education reporter for the San Antonio Express-News where she covered several local school districts, charter schools, and the community college system. McBride earned her master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, has held positions at the Palm Beach Post and the Poynter Institute, and is a recent Hearst Journalism Fellow.