Two incumbents will defend their seats against three challengers in the Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board recall election in May.

Beki Quintero, a longtime south-side community leader who helped lead the recall effort; and Mike Polak, a businessman who ran for a Ward 5 City Council seat in November, will be running for the seat currently held by Bobby Garcia.

Eric Giffin, a former Sunnyside board member who served for 12 years, will be running against board member Louie Gonzales.

The election was ordered in January in response to a petition to recall Gonzales and Garcia after they and current board President Eva Carrillo Dong voted last summer to extend the contract of Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo.

The contract extension drew the ire of many district residents, parents and some employees, who have criticized Isquierdo on his leadership and for a litany of personal and legal problems including unpaid taxes, filing for bankruptcy and a driver’s license suspension.

Dong is not part of the recall because she is already up for re-election this year.

The recall election, set for May 20, is expected to cost about $98,000 and will be conducted by mail. The estimate is based on a 30 percent voter turnout.

Three locations will be open on Election Day for those who want to drop off their ballots.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104.