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.