Hayward school board trustees Annette Walker
and Luis Reynoso win re-election Tuesday night.

After an expensive campaign seeking to unseat a majority of the Hayward school board failed, much of the status quo will remain.

School board incumbents Annette Walker and Luis Reynoso won re-election to three open seats Tuesday night. Walker received 21.6 percent of the at-large vote, followed by former Chabot College president Robert Carlson with 16.3 percent. Reynoso won the last seat, finishing third, with 15.8 percent.

However, the results were a mixed bag for the group of Hayward public officials and civic leaders who formed the political action committee, Hayward Civic Leaders Advocating for Student Success (CLASS), to remake the school board. Three candidates from the group ran as a slate, including Carlson, Daniel Goldstein and Todd Davis.

The group’s main argument claimed the current board members essentially privately and publicly bickered with each other more than did their jobs as stewards of education in Hayward. The group also publicly voiced a willingness to challenge in 2018 two additional school board members up for re-election–Lisa Brunner and William McGee.

Voters somewhat disagreed, deciding to bring back Walker, and the main adversary of Hayward CLASS, Reynoso. The third incumbent in the race, school board member John Taylor, was largely absent during the campaign after he was accused of misusing district funds for his ill-fated City Council race run earlier this year. Taylor finished sixth in the eight-person race, behind Hayward CLASS candidates, Goldstein (13.7 percent), and Davis (13.6 percent).

Reynoso, who will now begin a third term on the school board in December, believes Hayward CLASS largely failed because it ran its campaign like a city council race and neglected the school district’s outlying boundaries in unincorporated areas of Alameda County. “They forgot about those places,” said Reynoso. :When the voting data comes out, they probably beat me in Hayward, but I trashed them in Fairview and Cherryland.”

His opponents, backed by Hayward CLASS, also lacked passion and a message, believes Reynoso. “Their heart wasn’t in the game. They were recruited to run. I had a message: ‘I’m running to get rid of corruption. I’m running to get rid of no-bid contracts.’ Their message was the board fought too much.”

Meanwhile, the contentious election also exacerbated a rift between elected officials in the city that is likely to spill over post-Election Day. During the campaign, for instance, school board president Brunner unbraided the City Council during one of its meetings for meddling in their affairs.

Reynoso lashed out at elected officials Thursday who endorsed the Hayward CLASS effort to oust him and his colleagues from office, including Rep. Eric Swalwell, Assemblymember Bill Quirk, and a six of the seven members of the Hayward City Council. “What we should take from this is the school board is much more in tune with the needs of Hayward voters and its schools than all these other public officials.”