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Election or appointment?
Manteca board will decide how to replace Bronson
Manteca Unified Area 6 is generally northwest Manteca and is shown in orange. - photo by Image Contributed

Filling the seat vacated by Alexander Bronson could be the first time area-only elections are conducted in the Manteca Unified School District.

When voters in November elected Bronson and Ashley Drain — who are both facing election fraud charges stemming from not being legal residents of the district when they filed nomination papers  — they also approved abandoning district-wide school board elections.

The board on June 2 will discuss the legal options they have to replace Bronson. They could either appoint or call for a special election. If they don’t decide by July 10, the County Superintendent of Schools is required by law to call for a special election.

Since Bronson resigned on his own and was not recalled or removed from office by a court order, if the board opts for an election  it will be conducted only within Area 6 that was represented by Bronson. Area 6 is generally northwest Manteca (see accompanying map) bounded by Lathrop Road on the north, Main Street on the east, Louise Avenue on the south, Union Road on the east, Yosemite Avenue on the south, and Airport Way on the west with the exception of the Chadwick Square neighborhood on the northeast corner of Lathrop Road and Airport Way.

Elections had been district wide previously with candidates required to live within the area that they sought to represent.

Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer said legal counsel has advised the district should Drain be recalled or removed by the court, the replacement election would be a district-wide vote.

“That’s because it is how she got elected,” Messer said.

Should Drain by chance resign then only the voters in Area 2 — Lathrop west of Interstate 5 and north of Lathrop Road. Manteca north of Lathrop Road, French Camp, a small  of Weston Ranch due west of Weston Ranch High, and most of the rural area flanking Highway 99 north of Manteca — would vote for her replacement if an election were held.

Messer noted it is possible that a watershed election could take place in 2016 with five of the seven board seats up for grabs.

That’s because whoever replaces Bronson can only serve until the next election and not the remainder of his four-year term. The same would be true if Drain is replaced, removed, or resigns.