Candidate filing period opens for RSF School special election

The candidate filing period for the Rancho Santa Fe School District’s April 24 special election began on Jan. 2 and will run through Jan. 26. A special election was forced after a petition of 110 signatures was submitted to the San Diego County Superintendent of Schools objecting to the school board’s appointment process — the first successful petition of this kind in San Diego County since 1994.

As a result of the petition effort, board member Jon Yonemitsu’s provisional appointment was officially terminated on Dec. 15. Yonemitsu had been appointed to the board after trustee Marti Ritto resigned on Sept. 13.

So far, Elise Dufresne is the only candidate to pull papers from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. Dufresne was a candidate in the 2016 election and was additionally one of the five candidates interviewed for the vacancy to fill Ritto’s seat.

A parent of a young student at R. Roger Rowe School, Dufresne has lived in Rancho Santa Fe for nearly a decade. She is a principal of Dufresne and Associates, a political consulting firm focused on campaign strategy and communication.

"In order to effectively address the district's ongoing needs, the board needs to have the trust of all stakeholders.The recent rejection of the board’s appointment raises doubts about that level of trust," said Dufresne. "This election will ensure openness and transparency, restore accountability in the board’s decision-making process and help regain the community's confidence - all of which are essential to moving the district forward.”

Dufresne said she believes she can bring a fresh perspective and leadership to the challenges that the district is facing.

"Our district has an excellent reputation as a result of the hard work and strong leadership of very dedicated and passionate individuals over many years,” Dufresne said. “I intend to continue that legacy by working collaboratively with other members of the board, administrators, teachers, parents and the rest of the community to honor, maintain and enhance that reputation and continue to provide the highest quality educational experience for our children.”

The April election will fill Ritto’s seat for the duration of her term — the seat will again be up for election again in November 2018. The April special election will be conducted with an entirely by-mail ballot, at a cost of between $40,000 and $80,000 to the district.

Forms for declaring candidacy for the election are available at the office of the Registrar of Voters, 5600 Overland Ave. Suite 100, San Diego. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Declarations of candidacy must be filed no later than 5 p.m. on Jan. 26. For more information on the election, visit

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