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Ripon Unified seats may still be elected at-large
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RIPON - Mike Fisher lives in the southwest area of town.

The seat belonging to the current Ripon Unified school board president will be up for grabs come November. Anyone looking to challenge him for the post under the proposed rearrangement of trustee area plan would be required to live in that part of Ripon near Jack Tone Golf Course or the proposed Trustee Area 4.

Ditto that for Jack DeLiddo’s board seat. He’s in the proposed Trustee Area 5 consisting of the Spring Creek Golf and Country Club coupled with a big chunk of farm land, specifically, around Colony Oak School.

On Monday, the San Joaquin County Board of Education’s County Committee on School District Organization held a public hearing on the RUSD rearrangement plan on the trustee boundaries along with the alternative method of election for governing board members.

“We’re hoping (the election process) will still be at large,” Trustee Kit Oase said.

The County Committee applauded the plan at the workshop held at the Ripon City Hall Council Chambers.

The matter will be placed on the committee’s April 18 agenda at the SJC Office of Education complex at 2901 Arch-Airport Way Road, Stockton.

The session begins at 1 p.m.

The County Committee had a chance to view the RUSD plan made possible by board members Oase and Ernie Tyhurst.

“We tried to create a balance within the lines of the former boundaries, which didn’t anticipate growth,”Tyhurst said.

“Our magic number was 3,472 (residents per boundary). We stayed within 2 percent of that,” Oase added.

Trustee Area 1, under the plan, would consist of a section north of Main Street / Ripon Road, extending along Highway 99 and Jack Tone Road, including the two northern-most overcrossings.

Trustee Area 2 is the old downtown section of Ripon and the most populated.

Trustee Area 3 is made up of the older parts of Ripon along the old stretch of highway just east along the freeway.

Oase noted that the preliminary plan will include the current population of Ripon.

Trustee Donna Parks, for one, prefers the old method.

“I feel as if we serve everyone,” said Parks, who has held her post for the past six years. “People can vote for me or not vote for me - I work for everyone.

“That’s the benefit of living in a small town.”

Oase indicated that the County Committee approval could pave the way for the boundaries to be in place in time for the November ballot with possibly an at-large voting.

“In 2014, the County could still take a deeper look at the (at-large method) and go the other way,” he said.