Update: 10:08 p.m.
Stephanie Gharakhanian, a first generation American and an attorney who works as special counsel for the Workers Defense Project, has won a seat on the Austin Community College district’s board of trustees. According to unofficial results from the district, Gharakhanian defeated opponent Sarah Mills by a margin of 7,819 votes.
Gharakhanian received 19,347 votes, or 62.7 percent of the total, while Mills received 11,528 votes.
A first generation American whose father is from Iran and whose mother is from Italy, Gharakhanian will begin her six-year term on the board in January.
Early voting totals are in for the final seat on the Austin Community College board of trustees. Stephanie Gharakhanian, special counsel for the Workers Defense Project, leads Sarah Mills, director of Public Policy and Government Relations at the Texas Association for Home Care and Hospice, by a margin of 2,867 votes.
Gharakhanian received 10,895 votes in the early voting period, or 58 percent of the vote to 8,028 total votes for Mills.
Incumbents Barbara Mink, the chair of the board, and Julie Ann Nitsch were sworn in on Dec. 3 after winning reelection in the Nov. 6 election.
ACC’s board of trustees are elected by voters living within the community college’s district, which is comprised of the city of Austin and the areas served by seven public school districts–Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Elgin ISD, Hays CISD, Leander ISD, Manor ISD and Round Rock ISD.
At that Dec. 3 meeting, the board signaled its intent to do away with runoff elections. Each of the last three board elections has necessitated a runoff, and according to Molly Beth Malcolm, executive vice president of campus operations and public affairs, costs for those runoffs were $397,579 in 2014 and $445,692 in 2016. The board voted to include among its legislative priorities a request that state lawmakers amend the state’s education code to allow community college districts the ability to elect board members by plurality.
The ACC Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Dec. 19 at 12:00 p.m., convening for the final time this year. The following meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 14.