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Public can’t contact majority of Manteca board via e-mail

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POSTED November 20, 2012 12:47 a.m.

Four of the seven members of the Manteca Unified School Board of Trustees do not have e-mail addresses. In the absence of an e-mail, they have telephone numbers posted in the district web page where they can be contacted by members of the public.

Some of the Trustees do have personal e-mail access but are not listed on the district’s web page for obvious reasons.

The exception is Trustee Manuel Medeiros who is currently serving his fourth four-year term of service on the Board of Education.

“I don’t have a computer; that’s why I don’t have an e-mail. I don’t even have a cell phone. What for? What the hell do I need a cell phone for?” said the retired farmer.

“You can call me at home. I got nothing to hide,” he said, adding anyone can look up his home phone number in the telephone directory.

“It’s not important,” he said about owning a computer at home.

The issue over the e-mail addresses of some of the trustees not made available on the district web page was brought up not too long ago during a school board meeting by Ken Johnson, president of the Manteca Educators Association.

The other board members who do not have e-mails are board president Evelyn Moore, Nancy Teicheira, and Michael Seelye.

Ever since Mederios was elected to the school board, and farther back, when he was first elected to the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District nearly 20 years ago – when he completes the four-year term to which he was re-elected on Nov. 6 – “I never had a computer,” he said.

“So why do I need one right now when I’m an old man?” he added.

Superintendent Jason Messer said it’s the trustees’ individual choice whether or not they want to have e-mail.

“We could give all of them an MUSD account,” he said.

However, some of the board members are “not comfortable” receiving e-mails because of poor Internet service sometimes, and that the e-mails “may not come in all the time” as a result, said Messer.

“So it’s not a matter of they don’t have them from MUSD – it’s a matter of they don’t choose to use them,” he explained.

“We’re looking into the possibility about managing to some extent their e-mail. In other words, we would capture it, print it out, and send it to them in their Friday (meeting agenda) packet,” Messer added. But then they would have to deal with confidentiality issues, with the hard copies being read by other people such as staff members, he said.

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