Challenger defeats 1 incumbent in school board race

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Michael Drummond/Senior Staff

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UC Berkeley School of Law professor Ty Alper, Josh Daniels and Karen Hemphill won the three vacant seats on the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education, which oversees almost 10,000 students, in Tuesday’s general election, with all precincts reporting. Daniels and Hemphill are incumbent members on the board.

Early Wednesday morning, Hemphill took third place over board incumbent Julie Sinai. Berkeley resident Norma Harrison came in fifth. Incumbents Daniels and Sinai endorsed one another along with Hemphill and encouraged voters to elect them as a slate.

“I’m looking forward to working with this board and superintendent to keep moving the district forward, because we have a long way to go to be the district that we want to be,” said Alper, who secured the greatest share of the votes.

The board members — who serve staggered four-year terms — will have to face issues such as passing a parcel tax that will provide vital district funding as well as applying Common Core standards, a set of academic goals that enable districts to develop their own curricula to meet standards.

Harrison foresaw her loss in the election but did not let that discourage her from running.

“I’ll be fifth, the way I have been for the past three elections,” Harrison said. “That means a couple thousand thought that my ideas were good — which is a good thing.”

Contact Jean Lee at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @missjeanlee.