Santa Maria Joint Union High School District

This district encompasses four high schools, Righetti, Delta, Santa Maria and Pioneer Valley.  The first two, Righetti and Delta, are in the Orcutt area.  There are three seats available and four candidates.

Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot.

Dominick Palera


In November 2014, after a thirty year career with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, I was elected to my first term on the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board. My administrative experience as a retired Sheriff’s Commander has enabled me to bring a unique perspective to the board.  School safety has remained a priority.  Improvements have been made. SRO’s have been added, additional security hired, training for staff has taken place and campuses remain closed.

Our community has shown its support with the passage of several bonds. With that bond money, the district is in the process of adding 38 classrooms and modernizing existing classrooms at ERHS and building a Career Technical Education Center to serve all students. A future project will be the remodeling and modernization of Santa Maria High School.

To improve our education results, I supported the addition of culturally proficient courses. I supported the district implementation of alternatives to suspension and expulsion. I am fully committed to looking at ways to improve the eligibility of students to attend 4 year colleges and universities. (A – G requirements)

I hope to continue and support all of these endeavors as a Trustee.

Diana Perez


It has been an extraordinary experience to serve on the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board.  Since 2014, the district has implemented a historic number of greatly needed improvements.  

To name a few; new buildings and classroom space at both Righetti and Santa Maria High Schools.  A new Performing Arts building at Pioneer Valley High School and in progress, a new Career Technical Education Center projected to serve 500 students with hands-on, vocational programs to develop skills in high-paying careers.  We have improved access to the internet, provided students computer tablets and collaborated with Allan Hancock College to provide a number of college courses on each campus. We hired 22 credential high school counselors and three university counselors to support students with college and career pathways. We’ve increased opportunities in sports, clubs, fine arts, and music.

Moving forward, I’m interested in improving A-G course completion rates, increasing tutorial services, providing teachers additional support, be that materials, equipment or supplies. In addition, I’d like to explore new lunch menus with healthier choices, increase AVID sections, and university field trips. I hope you will re-elect me this November to continue to build the best school district to serve our students.

Carol Karamitsos


I have been on the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board for 12 years. During this time, schools have struggled through trials due to insufficient funding during the California recession. With Governor Brown, the funding model for schools has shifted to more local control and to augment those districts needing equitable funding. Our SMJUHSD has created opportunities for students’ academic experiences and extracurricular activities and has matched programmatic changes with new facilities and modernization of existing facilities. I decided to run for a fourth term to assist in ongoing efforts. The Career Technical Education pathways and the new CTE site provide critical enhancement for our students’ academic experience.

I am committed to public education as the best means to provide our children with the resources needed to reach their goals. High school students mature due to their efforts as well as the work of our hard-working teachers, support staff, and administrators. The Board’s direction for comprehensive, inclusive policies and practices for students and the commitment to adequate funding provides the framework for the students and staff.

I am hopeful that we can develop ways of getting every student involved in an extracurricular activity, including athletics, clubs, tutoring, mentoring, community service, and peer support groups. Society benefits from a civically-engaged populace. High school is the perfect place for students to grow into that role as adults.

David E. Basket

Aviation Professional

Dave is building an international aerial firefighting organization based in Santa Maria. Dave has more than 40 years of classified and unclassified, military, defense and commercial project development experience.

In the US Army, as a decorated combat pilot in VietNam then Army and FAA Flight Instructor, Dave was selected as combat aviation headquarters unit commander.

Post Army he was responsible for acquiring, delivery and support of Russian military aircraft and equipment to the US Department of Defense. He managed a project that won a ranking as of one of the best managed defense programs.

Working with the “New Russia” he helped upgrade medical, industrial, and US government backed “greener” mining operations in Siberia and a long running health care Joint Venture in Kazakhstan.

Dave founded, operated closed Pacific Skyway, a regional airline with a perfect safety record. He holds aviation licenses in several countries including a US A&P, Flight and Ground Instructor and Airline Transport Pilot.

Born in California, his education includes a high honor degree in Aerospace Management. He is proud that all three of his children graduated from Santa Maria schools are successful tax paying citizens.

Contact:  David.Baskett@Gmail. Home address 1424 Oakridge Park, Santa Maria, CA 93455