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Board hopefuls vary on restoring programs
Manteca Unified School Board hopefuls, from left, Evelyn Moore, Don Scholl, Chuck Carpenter, Nancy Teicheira, Bill Van Ryn, and Manuel Medeiros introduce themselves during Wednesday’s California School Employees Association Chapter 50’s candidates forum. - photo by HIME ROMERO
For the second straight week, candidates in the Manteca Unified school board race had a chance to voice their opinions on the issues.

The questions Wednesday were provided by the public and members of the California School Employee Association Chapter 50.

Challengers Chuck Carpenter, Don Scholl, and Bill Van Ryn, along with incumbents Evelyn Moore, Nancy Teicheira and Manuel Medeiros – Joey Ermitanio, who is challenging Medeiros in Area 2, was a no-show – discussed the district’s lease-lease back construction practices, the priority of education, and the issues and challenges facing classified employees.

“The increasing cost of health insurance,” said Teicheira of the latter. “But that’s everywhere.”

Medeiros agreed, saying: “The way it’s going no one will be able to afford health insurance.”

Carpenter, who is in the Area 5 race with Moore and Scholl – two of the three will be selected here since incumbent Vern Gebhardt opted against seeking a second term – was concerned about the recent cuts that classified employees took during the state-wide budget crisis.

Some questions were two-fold.

For example: What do you see as the role of parents as far as a school board contact and interaction? Should parents be actively involved or trust board members to set policy?

“Whenever parents have concerns it’s important to them. It’s their main focus and it’s important for the board to show sympathy,” Scholl said.

“Parents should be involved with their kids,” Medeiros said. “They should come to the meetings and provide their opinions.”

Added Moore: “A parent involved is the key to a student success.”

When the economy improves what is the first thing you think should be looked at and reinstated?

Moore was in favor of the process of a superintendent-appointed committee similar  to that of the one used to recommend the tough budget cuts.

Carpenter believed in reinstating the lost wages agreed upon by the unions.

Van Ryn and Teicheira, who are again involved in the Area 4 race, were in favor of re-investing these resources back into the classroom.

“In India, they have more students in honor programs than we have kids,” said Van Ryn, who heard of that alarming information at a recent seminar.

“What can we do to get more learning in the classroom?” he asked.

The candidates differed on their opinions on lease-lease back used by the district regarding construction projects.

“I’ve always been against lease-lease back,” Medeiros said. “I believe in the bidding process – you can (award the contract) to the lowest bidder and still negotiate.”

Teicheira noted that this process made possible the construction of the sports venues at Sierra High – the stadium is named in honor of the memory of her late son, Daniel Teicheira – and Weston Ranch High.

Carpenter said the companies involved should be local.

As for prioritizing education, Scholl believes it should be of the highest order.

“My wife (Becky) is a teacher,” he said. “I worked my way to college after I figured out what I wanted to do.”

Moore is a retired educator, with her three children graduating from California State University, Fresno and settling in the area. “In my family, education equals opportunity,” she said.

“I do have a little bit of an education – enough to get me by,” said Carpenter, who also took pride in his children having gone to college.
Vickie Markarian of the League of Women Voters in San Joaquin County applauded the efforts of the local CSEA in organizing the “Meet the Candidates” forum.

She’s involved in organizing a similar-type forum planned for next month at the Council Chambers involving those in the running for City of Manteca mayor and city council.