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Ripon Unified hopes to avoid costly election

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POSTED October 25, 2013 9:38 p.m.

Manteca Unified could be up for a costly special election in June based on Monday’s San Joaquin County Board of Education meeting.

The county committee on School District Organization will conduct a public hearing on the matter during the 5:30 p.m. open session inside the Gaylord A. Nelson Education Center, 2901 Arch Road, Stockton.

If the MUSD request waiver is granted, voters could go to the polls come November 2014 unaware of the recent changes. If not, the distict wikll have to pay between $75,000 and $100,000 to coduct an election.

Those changes were recently approved by the MUSD school board. Included was the trustee area map, going from five to seven zones per school board representation.

The board also gave its OK on the proposed change of the election process, with voters in the newly drawn areas being allowed to choose only those candidates who reside there.

The board request to the County Committee will ask that SJCOE bypass the election process on requirements to the recent changes.

However, the opposition – included here were district former school board member Dale Fritchen and Bruce Lownsberry – believes that the voters should have their say.

“This is something that should come before the voters,” said Lownsberry at a recent MUSD meeting. “We didn’t elect you to bypass the voters (but) to bring to us options.”

Ripon Unified officials, meanwhile, are also requesting much of the same to the County Committee.

Over a year ago, they agreed to go from a trustee-nominating area with an at-large election, to a “by and from” trustee area. Each area was divided to 3,472 residents per boundary.

Much like MUSD, RUSD is hoping that the County Committee will waive the requirement, bypassing a special election that would cost the district money while establishing the Trustee Area coupled with adopting a by-trustee area election process.

The County Committee, in addition, is inviting folks to step forward with public testimonies on these matters.

For more information, call SJCOE at 209-468-4802

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