Panama-Buena Vista Union School District board sees some new faces

Damian Lopez, Digital Managing Editor

According to the Kern County Elections Office website as of 11 p.m. November 3, 2020, only 16 out of 52 precincts have reported for the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District race, where Bryan Easter leads with 6,578 votes, followed by incumbent J.P. Lake with 5,527, and candidate Kelly Youngstrom with 5,057. 

Originally, eight candidates were on the ballot. However, Paula Van Auken, a retired teacher, dropped out of the race leaving seven to gather enough votes to fill the three vacant seats in area 2 of the Panama-Buena Vista Union School Board. Despite dropping the race, Van Auken pulled in 5,517 votes.  

Leading the race, the assistant principal of instruction for Frontier High School, Bryan Easter hopes for equitable education within the school district. Easter’s experience in education spans fifteen years, where he taught all three levels of lower education and spent time as both a teacher and an administrator.  

“First of all, it is amazing to see so many Americans vote in this election. In regard to my race, for Panama-Buena Vista Union School District, I’m continuing to watch as results come in and am hopeful to see a favorable outcome when every vote is counted,” said Easter. 

J.P. Lake, a managing partner at Kern Venture Group, is the only incumbent in the race. Lake began serving on the board in 2016, and during his time formed the Committee on Equity, and says they doubled the academic achievement score as compared to the state.  

AltaOne Federal Credit Union Supervisory Committee Member Kelly Youngstrom has a background in business and finance, managing million-dollar budgets. She ran in hopes of increasing transparency of all components of the school district. Access to information regarding finance, health and safety, and curriculum are some of what Youngstrom hopes to make transparent. 

Behind Yougstrom is Zack Bashirtash with 4,531 votes, followed by technology systems analyst, Tom Webster with 3,186 votes. Retired warden Michael Tann currently totals 1,716 votes, and Muosadak Abbas with 921 votes. 

Continue to follow The Runner’s website for updates on elections.