Election Results: Two new members to join Los Alamitos Unified Board of Education

Chris Forehan. Courtesy photo

The Los Alamitos Unified School District Board of Education will have two new members after the November 3, 2020 election. It was the first election for the district under its new trustee area voting system adopted earlier this year.

The Board of Education sets policy for nine public schools which are located in Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, and Seal Beach. The district is now divided into five trustee areas.

Former principal and 40-year Rossmoor resident Chris Forehan was elected to represent Trustee Area 2 which includes Weaver and Lee Elementary schools.

Scott Fayette, a former substitute and intervention teacher in LAUSD and current PTA Vice President at McAuliffe Middle school, will be appointed to represent Trustee Area 4 which covers parts of Seal Beach. Fayette’s appointment comes after no one else filed papers to run for the seat.

Meg Cutuli has served on the Board for 20 years and was re-elected to represent Trustee Area 5, which includes McGaugh Elementary school in Seal Beach.

“It is my honor to continue to serve the children of the communities of Seal Beach, Rossmoor and Los Alamitos. The support I have received is humbling,” Cutuli wrote in an email to The Sun.

Cutuli defeated retired engineer Matt Filler 62% to 38%, according to unofficial election results from the Orange County Registrar of Voters posted Nov. 10.

In the Trustee Area 2 race, Forehan won with 44% of the vote. Second-place finisher Paurvi Trivedi trailed him by more than 300 votes while Jody L. Roubanis had 18% of the vote.

“Thank you to the voters in Trustee Area #2,” Forehan wrote in a statement. “I plan to use my 38 years in public education to continue to make a difference for all students, their families and our wonderful community. I will be ready to start on Day #1.”

Joining Forehan as a first-time Board member is Fayette, who will be the only trustee with children currently attending LAUSD schools. He has a son at McAuliffe and another son attends Los Alamitos High School.

In an interview this week, Fayette said that was part of what motivated him to run for the seat. “I’m here as a conduit for all of the parents and the students,” he said and added, “I don’t know if parents and students get as big of a voice as they should.”

Current Board President Cutuli welcomed the new Board members. “I am looking forward to working with them and continuing to do great work for our students.”

A large part of that work will likely focus on meeting the needs of the district’s nearly 10,000 students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

LAUSD was the first public school district in Orange County to be granted a waiver to allow students back inside classrooms in September. All campuses are currently in a hybrid-learning model where a limited number of students attend in-person classes for part of the day.

Other students are enrolled in LAUSD’s online-only education pathway known as LosAl@Home.

The school year has gone relatively smoothly but there have been challenges. In late September, teachers at Los Alamitos High School threatened a walkout just days before the campus was due to welcome back students. The administration and teachers came to an agreement about concerns regarding health and safety protocols for in-person learning in time to avoid any disruptions to the reopening.

According to numbers posted by the district on Nov. 9, LAUSD currently has 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases. That represents 13 students and 5 staff members or .214% of the in-person population.

Cutuli, Fayette, and Forehan will be sworn in at the December 15 Board meeting. They will officially begin their four-year terms after the swearing-in.

Board of Education members Karen Russell and David Boyer did not seek re-election after each serving 16 years, according to a statement from LAUSD Superintendent Dr. Andrew Pulver.  “They have been faithful, dedicated advocates for the students, staff and families of Los Alamitos Unified,” Pulver wrote of Russell and Boyer.

Board members Diana Hill and Marlys Davidson are up for re-election in 2022.