Part II of the Weekly’s select picks for the Nov. 8 elections.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
MONTEREY PENINSULA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
Area 3: Rick Johnson
Once an MPC student himself, Johnson has earned the community’s trust as executive director of the Old Monterey Business Association. That trust is an invaluable asset in this rocky economy. We like his focus on strengthening ties between MPC and Peninsula businesses – which will help retain local talent and battle unemployment.
We don’t doubt that Johnson’s opponent, college administrator Robert Savukinas, would also make a competent and caring trustee. But Johnson has a proven track record of working with various interests without losing sight of the community’s best interests (like his leadership in banning expanded polystyrene from the Old Monterey Farmers Market). We’re confident in his ability to lead MPC through its financial squeeze.
CARMEL UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Annette Yee Steck Richard Kreitman
Incumbent Steck, a financial advisor to California school districts, has taken Carmel’s concerns to Sacramento. Her insistence on blocking legislation that could compromise Carmel’s “basic aid” funding structure – a property-tax-based formula that funds CUSD students at a rate more than triple MPUSD’s per-student spending – aims to maintain Carmel’s success while record numbers of California districts, including MPUSD, struggle with ballooning class sizes and flagging academic performance.
Peitso, a paralegal and special-education advocate, has her eye on federal legislation. With the threat of funding losses under No Child Left Behind, she’s wisely pushing to nurture special-ed students and English language learners for the well-being of the entire district.
Kreitman, a parent of two CUSD students, also impresses with steady volunteer service on school PTO and PTA boards and a variety of other committees. As a retired USAID economist and private-sector financial advisor, he could be comfortably golfing instead of donating his time as a math tutor and after-school instructor. He’s got the brains and the heart for the job.
MONTEREY PENINSULA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Area 1: Diane Creasey
Area 3: Jon Hill
It’s been a rough-and-tumble stretch for MPUSD. Parents raised a ruckus last spring when the Board of Directors approved raises for top-level administrators while class sizes swelled and teacher pay stayed static.
Current Board President Diane Creasey and her fellow trustees approved funding for intervention teachers at every MPUSD school and still achieved a budget surplus for this fiscal year. She demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of state education standards and MPUSD achievements, as well as an earnest investment in student performance and teacher support.
Meanwhile, Jon Hill has emerged as a no-nonsense candidate whose proactive attitude, combined with K-12 school leadership experience, promises to infuse the board with fresh energy.
MONTEREY COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
Area 4: Francisco Estrada
Area 5: Tony Acosta
Trustee Area 4 is 78 percent Latino and serves many English language learners – yet it hasn’t had a Latino rep in nearly 50 years. Francisco Estrada gets it. A longtime educator and Area 4 resident, he advocates for a community-based approach to education that involves not just parents, but also county health and safety agencies, in seeking solutions to the societal problems that impede classroom success.
As for Area 5, Soledad resident Tony Acosta’s the only candidate who responded to the Weekly’s questionnaire, so he gets points just for showing up. That said, his support from South County residents and his position as co-chair of the Latino Network indicates a comfort and stature among his constituents will help him represent this oft-overlooked area.
HARTNELL COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Area 1: Manuel Osorio
Area 2: Johnny Gray
Area 4: Elia Gonzalez-Castro
As California legislators continue to slash funding and hike tuition for state universities, community colleges like Hartnell face surging enrollment without the resources to keep up.
In such an unforgiving economic climate, it’s imperative that Hartnell’s Board of Trustees is staffed by people with complementary skills in finance, policy and community-building. That’s why we’re endorsing the trifecta of Osorio, Gray and Gonzalez-Castro.
Osorio’s got the budgetary experience, having served as a top administrator at Cabrillo College and on the North Monterey County school board. Lifelong Salinas Valley resident Gray’s track record of community involvement is encouraging, and incumbent Elia Gonzalez-Castro’s common-sense focus on expanding training programs that lead to living-wage jobs earns our vote.
The candidates make their own cases at www.mcweekly.com/2011election.