Voters in the downtown area will head to the polls in a special election Tuesday to decide among four candidates who will become the newest Bakersfield City School District trustee.

Voters will choose among financial advisor Rupert Gregorio; United Farm Workers of America attorney Edgar Aguilasocho; retired pastor Ralph Anthony; and Stine Elementary School Daycare Manager Vicki Lynn Billington.

They are vying to fill a seat left vacant by Trustee Raymond Gonzales — an educator who served as one of the first Latino assemblymen from the San Joaquin Valley in 1972. Gonzales, 78, announced his resignation from the board in May — five months after winning re-election last year.

He cited his deteriorating health as a concern. The board has left his seat open for nearly a year.

The winner of the election will help lead the state’s largest elementary school district during a time of growth and expansion and represent Area 3, a swath of central Bakersfield buttressed between Highway 99 and Union Avenue north of Highway 58. It includes some of the district’s most challenging schools.

The chosen candidate will also join a board that has consistently been represented largely by former and current educators, bucking the trend of school district boards across the state that have fewer trustees who have spent time in the classroom.

Polling sites open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 8 p.m.

Harold Pierce covers education and health for The Californian. He can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter @RoldyPierce

(1) comment

mikesmithjr

It’s disturbing that attorney Edgar Aguilasocho wants our votes so he can be on the board of Bakersfield City School District, but notoriously he suppressed the votes of thousands of immigrants trying to keep him and his UFW union from taking their money without giving them a choice. Just as bad is the fact that his UFW broke labor laws and was ordered by a judge to pay almost $2 million dollars, and was even ordered by the judge to garnish farmworker member dues to pay for UFW’s crime!

Edgar calls himself a socialist (http://keywiki.org/California_Democratic_Socialists_of_America,_statewide_Facebook_group), which explains why he has focused his short legal career on destroying thousands of farmworker jobs in the Central Valley and Central Coast. Where Edgar attacks, jobs are lost. Just ask the THOUSANDS of workers at these companies: 400+ Hiji Brothers, 400+ Klein Management, 2,500+ Gerawan Farming, 200+ Dole Berry, PicSweet, Guy Chaddock, Coachella Valley Citrus, Nash deCamp, Oceanview Strawberries, D'Arrigo, Sunrise Mushroom, VCNM Farms, California Mushroom, Mushroom King, Money Mushrooms and more!

Edgar's crowning achievement has been to force a government written “contract” on farmworkers without a giving them a choice, even though it would lower their pay take away their right to continue protesting against him.

Edgar will do to our schools what he did to immigrant farmworkers. Don’t let that happen.

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