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Area representatives get OK

Ripon Unified dropping districtwide trustee selection

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POSTED October 29, 2013 12:43 a.m.

By VINCE REMBULAT

The Bulletin

Come November 2014, the Manteca Unified will allow the voters to have their say on school board representation.

District-wide vs. area-wide? Those choices can now appear on the ballot thanks in part to the support Monday of the San Joaquin County Board of Education’s County Committee on School District Organization.

The county board unanimously backed the MUSD school board decision, denying the waiver of requirement request, in turn, leaving it up to voters on selecting the election process.

“They have a right to vote on it,” said former MUSD board member Dale Fritchen, who added that the process will not be as pricey now that the ballot is tabbed for the general election. “I’m confident the voters will get it right.”

The same SJCOE committee did grant a similar-type wavier to Ripon Unified, thus, establishing Trustee Areas coupled with the adoption of a By-Trustee Area Election.

RUSD plan – thanks to the efforts of board members Ernie Tyhurst and Kit Oase – was greatly supported in which the new boundaries of each trustee area were divided equally based on population from the recent U.S. Census and in compliance with the “one man, one vote” principle.

“I’ve not received a phone call (against it),” said county board member Janet Dyk, who represents the Ripon area.

Board Vice President Dave Sorgent added, “The circumstances in Ripon are different than in Manteca.”

New boundaries were also redrawn and approved at MUSD, where the trustee representation areas will get bumped up from five to seven “equally proportion areas,” according to Nancy Teicheira.

She will soon see her area consisting of south Manteca changed to mostly Lathrop.

Teicheira, however, believes that people in the district should have a chance to weigh in on the election process. “This is a major change and it should go before the voters,” she said.

The county committee is hopeful that the process – area wide or district wide – will be a fair representation of the MUSD demographics.

“Unfortunately, not everyone votes,” Superintendent of Schools Mick Founts said.

With concerns about diversity possibly coming from advocacy and political groups, the SJCOE committee was quick to point out that MUSD had “all different cultures,” listing Nellie Zavala, Paul Gutierrez, Rex Holiday and, currently, Sam Fant, among others, as board representatives of the past dozen years.

“No matter who’s elected, we have the interest of everyone at heart,” Sorgent said.

For Dale Fritchen, the process is matter of principle. “People have the right to vote as to how they’re represented,” he said.

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