The 2018 race for two open seats on the Palo Alto Unified Board of Education came down to the wire on election night, incumbent Ken Dauber winning comfortably with 13,459 votes (27.3 percent). Three candidates were locked in a dead heat for the second spot as absentee ballots were still being counted.
As of press time, attorney and Gunn High School graduate Shounak Dharap led with 11,502 votes (23.3 percent), while parent and special-ed advocate Stacey Ashlund trails by a little over 1,000 ballots, racking up 10,406 votes (21.1 percent). Not far behind, vocal community member and parent Kathy Jordan tallied 10,031 votes (20.4 percent). Alex Scharf and Christopher Boyd are significantly behind.
No matter the final results, the re-election of sitting Board President Ken Dauber shows that despite a term that saw many controversies, a plurality of voters approves of his performance on the Board of Education.
If Dharap’s lead holds, he would add a new perspective to the Board. He was the only candidate who vocally opposed the district’s choice to report weighted GPA’s at Palo Alto High School. Dharap would also become the youngest member at 28 years old, and would have an understanding of the district from a student’s perspective since he graduated from Gunn High School in just 2008.