Graciela Villanueva

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Graciela Villanueva
Graciela Villanueva.jpg
Yakima Board of Directors, Position 1
Former member
Term ends
November 2013
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
AppointedNovember 2011
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sHeritage University
Master'sWashington State University
ProfessionRecruiting manager
Office website
Graciela Villanueva was the Position 1 member on the Yakima Board of Directors in Washington. She served on the board since her appointment in November 2011. Villanueva was defeated by challenger Jeni Rice on November 5, 2013.

Rice dropped out of the race for the Position 1 seat against Villanueva in September to pursue a professional opportunity.[1] Rice's name remained on the ballot and voters overwhelmingly selected her for the Position 1 seat. She has indicated that she will accept the position despite her withdrawal. Villanueva argued that Rice won the election because voters confused the challenger with current board member Martha Rice. The incumbent also alleged that voters rejected her re-election bid because of local discrimination against Hispanics.[2]


Villanueva earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Heritage University. She later received a M.B.A. from Washington State University. Villanueva has served on the Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs as well as the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters. She currently works as a recruiting manager for the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic. Villanueva has one child currently attending district schools.[3][4]



See also: Yakima School District elections (2013)


Villanueva sought election to the board against challenger Jeni Rice.


Yakima Board of Directors, Four-year term, Position 1, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJeni Rice 61.2% 5,278
     Nonpartisan Graciela Villanueva Incumbent 38% 3,280
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.8% 65
Total Votes 8,623
Source: Yakima County Auditor, "Cumulative Report," November 26, 2013


Villanueva reported no contributions or expenditures to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.[5]

What was at stake?

Incumbents Walt Ranta and Raymond Navarro, Jr. ran for re-election to the board without opposition.

Budget shortfall

The district will be challenged by growing enrollment, slow revenue growth and increased demands on the annual budget. District schools have seen a 5.3% increase in total enrollment between 2008 and 2012. The 2013-2014 budget approved by the Board of Directors on August 20, 2013 requires an infusion of reserve funds to fill a $11.3 million shortfall. Budget discussions revealed that the district saw a 8% increase in revenue over the previous budget year but a 12% increase in expenses.[6]

About the district

See also: Yakima School District, Washington
Yakima School District is located in Yakima County, Washington
Yakima School District in Yakima County is located in south-central Washington about 60 miles south of Mount Rainier. The population of Yakima was 243,231 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[7]


Yakima lags behind state averages for higher education achievement, median income and poverty rate. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (16.0%) is below the state average (31.4%). The 2010 U.S. Census calculated Yakima's median income at $44,419 while the state median income was $58,890. Yakima had a poverty rate of 21.4% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 12.5%.[7]

Racial Demographics, 2012[7]
Race Yakima (%) Washington (%)
White 88.4 77.3
Black or African American 1.4 3.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 5.7 1.5
Asian 1.4 7.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.2 0.6
Two or More Races 2.8 4.7
Hispanic or Latino 46.3 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern[8]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 42.9 54.5
2008 43.6 54.1
2004 39.1 59.5
2000 36.2 56.0

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.[9]

Recent news

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See also

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