The Nov. 6 Manteca Unified School Board election will be the first time trustees — who must reside in the district they represent — will be elected by only the votes of people within their areas instead of districtwide as has been the case since 1967.
Four trustees — the majority of the seven-member board — are up for election.
And for the first time in four years, all of the available seats will be for full, four-year terms.
In Manteca Unified’s first ever district-based election, the seats of Board President Stephen Schluer in Area 6, Clerk Evelyn Moore in Area 5, Kathy Howe in Area 2 and Nancy Teicheira in Area 4 will be open to qualified candidates residing in each of those areas.
Details of the district-based balloting will be posted to the district’s website early next month when it is received from the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters office. The filing period for prospective candidates will open shortly thereafter.
Area 6, represented by Schuler, covers the area bordered on the north by Lathrop Road, Main Street on the east to Louise Avenue, north of Louise to Union Road, west of Union Road to Yosemite Avenue, and to the east of Airport Way between Yosemite and Lathrop Road except for a chunk of the Chadwick Square neighborhood.
Area 5, represented by Moore, is bounded on the north by Louise Avenue from Union Road to Highway 99, on the east by Highway 99 to the 120 Bypass to Main Street, to the east of Main Street from the 120 Bypass to Yosemite Avenue, north of Yosemite Avenue from Main to Union, and east of Union from Yosemite to Louise.
Area 2, represented by Howe, is bounded on the south in Manteca and for the most part in Lathrop by Lathrop Road. It includes Lathrop High and the neighborhood immediately to the south of the campus, covers all of French Camp and rural north Manteca as well as the unincorporated area north of Lathrop as well as the area in Weston Ranch surrounded the high school campus
Area 4, represented by Teicheira, includes everything south of Peach Avenue as far east as to South Main Street/Manteca Road, as well as the area bounded by Airport Way on the west, Yosemite Avenue on the north and Main Street on the east.
While two trustees were elected to four-year terms in 2016 – Board Vice President Bob Wallace and trustees Eric Duncan and Michael Seelye won’t be up for reelection until 2020 – both Schluer and Howe were forced to run for two-year terms in order to complete the remainder of the terms vacated by Alexander Bronson and Ashley Drain.
Both Drain and Bronson were elected in 2014, but resigned after election fraud charges were filed against them for not living in the districts in which they were elected. After the board decided against a costly special election to fill the vacant seats – Bronson resigned almost immediately while Drain waited months before throwing in the towel – both Schluer and Howe were picked after an interview process and appointed to fill the remainder of the first-half of their term after a new state law required that the term be split into two-year segments if an appointment would go longer than that period of time.
Under the new electoral system, only people residing in the district where the representative for that district is qualified can vote for that person, or people, in the General Election in November. Previously the candidates would qualify in their geographic districts but were voted in at large amongst all registered votes within the school district’s boundaries.
The change to district voting, in conjunction with the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 that was written to make it easier for minority groups in California to have adequate representation, has been adopted in other parts of the state but will be used for the first time this year.
The geographic boundaries of the individual districts, as well as the term dates for each of the elected members of the board, can be found by visiting www.mantecausd.net, highlighting board and superintendent, and then clicking on board of trustees. Additional information about the election, and the necessary paperwork dates, will be posted in June.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.