ALBANY -- Voters on Tuesday handily returned incumbents Patricia Low and Ron Rosenbaum to the school board and overwhelmingly approved a one-half cent sales tax.
Low was the top vote-getter for school board with 3,259 votes, or 45 percent. Rosenbaum was next with 2,841 (40 percent). Challenger Byron Barrett was third with 1,048 votes (15 percent).
Low and Rosenbaum are both former educators and Rosenbaum said he thought that was a key.
"I'm glad voters understand how important it is to have educators on the board," Rosenbaum said. "I'm hoping that folks find that I'm responsive and listen to what they have to say about the schools and trust me as a school board member and the ex-principal to listen to the needs of their children. I'm hoping that my reputation is giving them confidence."
Rosenbaum is a former principal at Albany High School, as well as at Alhambra and Oakland Tech high schools.
He also was a counselor at Berkeley High School and was a teacher before that.
Low has taught at all levels, from K-12 to community college and state university.
"I'm grateful to the Albany voters for giving me the honor of serving on the board again," Low said. "I am relieved and heartened that (state) Proposition 30 passed so that all California schools and the Albany schools will not be facing difficult decisions."
Low said that Barrett, a parent of two children in the school district, raised important issues during the campaign.
Barrett pushed for the district to do a better job accommodating families where both parents work.
"I'd like to thank Mr. Barrett for having the courage to run and being interested in serving the community," she said. "I think he raised some good points about schools needing to be responsive to the modern family. I encourage him and I encourage anyone who wants to help the schools to contact the board and to stay involved."
The half-cent sales tax, Measure F, passed with 79 percent of the vote. It needed a majority to pass.
The tax will run for eight years and help the city maintain its current level of services.
Due to budget problems at the state level, proponents worried that the city would have to endure severe service cuts without the extra revenue.
The City Council began studying revenue alternatives last year before placing the measure on the ballot.
In contrast to Albany, a countywide half-cent sales tax, Measure B1, appeared to be going down to defeat, getting 65 percent of the vote with remaining absentee ballots still to be counted.
That measure needed a two-thirds majority to pass.