OAKLAND – A candidate for Oakland’s school board initially certified as the winner of last November’s vote resigned from the board on Tuesday, ending a controversial and contested election that would see Alameda County Superior Court review.
In a rackNick Resnick acknowledged a court-ordered review of the election results in the three-candidate race for the school board seat in District 4, which hinged on the unjust suspension of 235 ballots by county officials in which voters left the first column blank.
After a new count in December, county election officials concluded that Resnick’s opponent, Mike Hutchinson, had actually won the seat.
“I recognize that I could go on contesting this election for months and months and we could spend months of precious public resources on a legal process and be uncertain about who will ultimately occupy this seat,” Resnick said in part.
“Right now I don’t think that’s the best thing for this community and I don’t think it will help get our schools where they need to go. Instead, I make the choice to congratulate my opponent and inform him that I will no longer oppose the election campaign and will therefore resign from the D4 seat.”
Resnick denounced what he called challenges that make some forgo not just public education, but the community as a whole.
“There’s no bright future for OUSD schools if we can’t turn that around and figure out how to have a bunch of schools that families actively choose,” Resnick said.
“I’m not quite sure how I’m going to handle this in the years to come, but what I do know is that I’m going to commit my time, my energy and my voice to moving towards a day when all families will actively choose, in every segment of our community, for a local public school that inspires and delights them. I’m talking about schools in every corner of our city that families can’t get enough of. Our students desperately deserve us to sort this out.”
Had the county followed the Oakland City Charter, the majority of the November 8 vote would have been immediately transferred to third place and eventual winner Hutchinson through the city’s ranked choice format, which allows voters to rank preferences.
In the weeks following Hutchinson’s certification, both men had served on the board, with Resnick making a number of decisions but also abstaining from a recent vote to repeal some highly controversial campus closures — despite the strong possibility that he was not actually chosen to serve.
Judge Brad Seligman had one partial review of the election results that were to take place earlier this month.
Hutchinson, who held the District 5 board seat, was running for the seat because his home address was redistributed to District 4. He will serve as board chairman this year, and the board is expected to appoint a replacement for Hutchinson’s old D-5 seat.
Hutchinson acknowledged Resnick’s firing in a post on social media.
“I would like to thank Nick for his service to OUSD, for how he ran his campaign and for how he handled the unexpected and uncomfortable turn of events over the past 2 months,” Hutchinson wrote. “I look forward to working together in the future as I am sure he will continue to find ways to serve District 4, OUSD and the community at large.”
Staff writer Shomik Mukherjee contributed to this report. Please contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.