The Manteca Unified Board of Education will formally interview the five candidates for the vacant Area 6 position tonight when they convene.
The board meeting starts with an open session at 6:15 p.m. in the district office.
So exactly are the candidates that are vying to fill Alexander Bronson’s abandoned school board seat?
Here’s a brief synopsis of each hopeful:
• Stephen Schluer – A Manteca Police Department Detective specializing in child abuse and sexual assault, Schluer submitted letters of reference from a San Joaquin County Office of Education assistant superintendent, the Sierra High School principal, Police Chief Nick Obligacion and Mayor Steve DeBrum. Schluer, a Manteca High graduate, has been the School Resource Officer at Sierra High and participated in the Student Attendance Review Board. He has been involved with local baseball and softball and the Parks and Recreation Department and is active in the Police Chief’s Foundation and at the Manteca Boys and Girls Club. He is a Kiwanian, has been the Manteca Police union president and serves on the local Every 15 Minutes committee. Schluer has two children attending Manteca elementary schools, and says that he wants to ensure quality education for all socio-economic groups and educational success for every child. Schluer wrote that he wants to ensure that the impact of decisions on students is understood while maintaining accessibility and accountability to the public. He would also like to see careers in addition to college presented as options, and see a budget that is aligned with LCAP – a part of the local control funding formula.
• Benjamin Cantu – A retired Manteca land use planner, Cantu included references from a local teacher, the Sunrise Kiwanis and the Tidewater Railway Museum, as well as from a local lawyer. He has been active in the Downtown Business Association, Manteca CAPS, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Sunrise Kiwanis and the Knights of Columbus. Cantu had children that attended area schools and says that he wants to continue the exceptional job that MUSD does educating children. Cantu said that he wants to create a safe, quality environment in which children achieve, and help find funding that would maintain the district’s competitive ranking. He also wants to expand the vocational school program.
• Jim Anderson – A retired sheriff’s deputy and criminal investigator, Anderson included letters of reference from teachers, the PTA, the vice principal at Sierra High School, the Sierra High band director, a Realtor, lawyer and local business owner. He has served on the PTA and has been a coach at Sierra High School for eight years. He’s has also been involved in Prestige Senior Living and has been a singer performing local shows including the Manteca Pumpkin Fair. Anderson has a student at a Manteca high school and two that have graduated, and has a commitment to everyone equally and hopes to continue the success of Manteca Unified School District. Anderson wrote the wants to be a liaison between all members of the district and find the best resolution to complaints while making ethical and moral decisions in the best interest of everyone. He wants to help push a platform that would recruit more teachers without overworking them and make sure that goals are met.
• Francesco Torrice – A Tracy Fire Captain, Torrice included letters from the Tracy Division Fire Chief, a representative from the University of California, Davis, and a church associate. He has been involved with Give Every Child a Chance, the Heart Lab, promoting fire awareness and has also worked with the World Wide Marriage Encounter. He has two students at a local elementary school, and says that he places a high value of education and schools and community builders. Torrice said that he wants to make the necessary adjustments for tech and common core and ensure that MUSD recruits and retains quality staff. He wants to make a push for accountability and include the staff and citizens in ensuring that the benefits of students are met first.
• Jeremy Hannon – This software engineer included letters of recommendation from a senior pastor, a charter schoolteacher and a family member. He includes singing and drama and his involvement and has students at a local charter school. Hannon said that he likes the Manteca Unified tech roll out and its commitments and wants to address the disconnect of high school students. Hannon wrote that he wants to represent the trustee area with dignity and respect and restore positive feelings as a board member. He has a large amount of experience technology, especially Microsoft, and has the ability to explain tech in non-tech terms. He said that he wants to engage students around technology and address teacher needs where possible.
The Manteca Unified school board will interview each candidate in a public forum and will make a decision on who will fill the remaining time left in the vacant term before the next election.
Whoever is appointed, according to a format laid out by Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer, will have to be reelected again in 2016, and then again the following election if they wish to continue.