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School board race getting expensive

The costly race for three spots on the Lake Tahoe Unified School District school board has increased to four challengers.

Sue Novasel, a computer technician, announced her candidacy last week after discussing the option with her husband and two high school-aged daughters.

Novasel believes the district needs to raise revenue to counter budget shortfalls from declining enrollment.



“Eliminating programs reduces opportunities that attract families as well as qualified teachers to our schools,” she said. “We need to maintain important programs such as class size reduction, (physical education) and music. Our school district should work alongside of our community to improve the health of our schools by applying sound financial judgment to difficult decisions.”

Novasel joins challengers Barbara Bannar, Doug Forte and Rolf Mayer for three spots on the five-member board. The three spots are available since board president Lennie Schwartz and member Bernadette Santana are up for re-election.



Board member Sue Yang said she will not seek re-election.

Both Schwartz and Santana are running for another four-year term.

The bill for LTUSD’s election will be costly. Since Lake Tahoe Community College and South Tahoe Public Utility District aren’t holding elections for their respective boards and there are no South Lake Tahoe initiatives on the ballot, LTUSD will have to foot the bill for the election costs.

The costs include space on the sample ballot, mailing, staff time and other labor expenditures, said Michelle Mac Intyre, El Dorado County registrar. The bill will run a minimum of $20,000.

“Sometimes you have people to share it with and sometimes you don’t, but it does get expensive when you don’t,” she said.

LTUSD’s Chief Financial Officer Diane Head, said the money for election costs will come from the general fund.

Perhaps due to the tough decisions facing the board this year — one being the possibility of closing a school because of lost income and declining enrollment — the race this year is more crowded than the 2001 election.

That year three people filed for two open seats. Wendy David and Madeline Fernald captured the most votes.

— E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com


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