San Jose councilmember eyes next political move
Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco speaking in East San Jose in 2020. File photo.

San Jose Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco looks to be heading down a new political path— vying for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Education.

Carrasco, who represents District 5 on the city council, terms out of office at the end of the year. She filed papers to run for trustee area 6 on the county education board, election filings show. If elected, she would replace current board President Peter Ortiz, who is running for her District 5 council seat. Ortiz has served since 2018. County board of education seats do not have term limits.

Like Ortiz, who is running against former Assemblymember Nora Campos, it may not be an easy path to victory. Carrasco will face off against Franklin-McKinley School District board member Maimona Afzal Berta, who has served in that position since 2018. Berta works full-time as a special education teacher in the Alum Rock Union School District. In addition, she serves on the teacher’s union executive board.

“To me, this seat is rooted in serving the real lives of the students and families I’ve worked with directly as a public school special education teacher for the last decade,” Berta told San José Spotlight.

Carrasco did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

For Carrasco, running for a seat on the county board of education is a return to her roots. She has a background in education, serving as a board member on the East Side Union High School District for two years before winning her city council seat in 2014. Before that, the East San Jose representative worked as an

The county board of education has seven seats, with three up for election this November. In trustee areas 2 incumbent Tara Sreekrishnan is running unopposed. Ortiz is not seeking reelection for his seat. Claudia Rossi, who unsuccessfully tossed her hat into the county supervisor race for District 1, is also not seeking reelection for her trustee area 7 seat. Santa Clara County Health Advisory Commissioner Raeena Lari and Charter School of Morgan Hill Foundation Board Secretary Natalie Prcevski are facing off to replace Rossi.

Sreekrishnan, appointed in 2021, said the dynamic of the board could change with two open seats.

“I would want someone who’s a bridge builder, who listens to everyone and puts the students first and just commits to serving our students and doing what’s best for them,” Sreekrishnan told San José Spotlight. She is endorsing Berta for trustee area 6 and Lari for trustee area 7.

The county board of education oversees alternative education, special education, migrant education and early learning programs. The board also serves as an appellate body for certain local school district decisions, including inter-district transfers, expulsion and charter school appeals.

“These county programs are in place so students don’t fall through the cracks. A big priority of our board is closing the achievement gap which still exists in our county. And we have a major focus on early learning in that regard,” Sreekrishnan said.

Berta said she is endorsed by Santa Clara County Supervisor and San Jose mayoral candidate Cindy Chavez, Assemblymembers Ash Kalra and Alex Lee, as well as current board of education trustees Rosemary Kamei, Peter Ortiz and Victoria Chon. Carrasco has not shared a list of endorsements.

Voters on the east side of the county will chose between the two candidates on Nov. 8.

Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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