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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Voters Head to the Polls for School Board Election


ACTON — Voters cast ballots Tuesday in a special election to fill two school board seats in the Acton-Agua Dulce School District and to decide whether to recall a board member.

Seven candidates ran for the two board positions, left open by resignations last year. Voters were also to determine if Laurelyn Browning should be recalled and, if so, which of three candidates should replace her.

Ballots were being counted Tuesday night.

The unified district was formed in 1993 after many years as an elementary school district. The main issue in Tuesday's election was the location of the district's first permanent high school.

Browning said she favors building the school on a hillside site in Wallace Canyon approved by the five-member board in 1992, saying it is the only proposed location that meets fire safety requirements. She said moving to another site would require the cash-starved district to buy more land and cause lengthy construction delays that could threaten the district's future because it lacks an acceptable high school.

The recall was launched last year by residents who contend the district cannot afford to build the school in the canyon and that Browning's insistence on the site is keeping the district from pursuing less costly alternatives.

The campaign generated accusations ranging far beyond school issues.

Some claimed, for example, that local business leaders want no new high school because the district's existence prevents the nearby city of Palmdale from annexing the area and encouraging construction of more housing. Palmdale officials say they are not seriously considering such an annexation.

Candidates for the open board positions are Charles Brink, Los Angeles Firefighter Richard Anderson, retiree Dennis Dee, minister Wayne Wilson, business owner Fred Fate, engineer Martin Barofsky and certified public accountant Val Jensen.

If the recall was successful, Browning's seat will be filled by one of three candidates: business owner James Duzick, computer consultant Mike McKelvey or parent Stacey Nickels.

Also on the ballot was an advisory measure asking voters whether they want Agua Dulce Air Park, which is for sale by its owner, to be turned into a county airport. The non-binding vote will be considered by the county Board of Supervisors when it decides whether to buy the air park.

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