By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Board picking Area 3 trustee this Tuesday

Four potential replacements for Area 3 trustee Michael Seeyle who resigned will be interviewed by the Manteca Unified Shciool District board on Tuesday.

And if all goes well, one of them will be appointed and sworn into office that evening.

The board is meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Joshua Cowell School cafeteria at 740 Pestana Ave. to conduct candidate interviews.

The four applicants to represent Area 3 and who are required to live within the trustee district are attorney Eddie Torres, retired MUSD administrator Howard Holtsman, homemaker Karen Pearsall, and MUSD teacher Leo Bennett-Cauchon.

Area 3 includes all of Manteca east of Highway 99 to the eastern edge of the school district, north to Area 2 and south to the district’s southern boundary. It also includes the triangle bounded by North Main, Louise Avenue, and Highway 99 as well as the triangle bounded by Cottage Avenue Highway 99 and Yosemite Avenue plus south of the 120 Bypass to Main Street and then everything east of Main Street in South Manteca.

Residents of Area 3 are invited to attend and may submit questions for consideration by emailing them to by Monday, April 1.

The board on Tuesday will interview the candidates then discuss the choices before appointing a replacement.

The candidates were asked to respond to four questions on their applications as well as provide three letters of reference.

Response to the question of identifying “the most significant issues confronting public education, in general, and Manteca USD in particular and state your position on each” appears below:



“The three most significant issues in our public education system are: resources, safety, and for Manteca in particular, dealing with the population growth. The School climate at this time is that safety is of the utmost importance. School staff should be properly trained and be prepared to act in any emergency.  Ensuring that students feel safe, such as freedom from bullying, will help reduce absences, and turn the focus towards learning. 

“Another resource that students should have is adequate mental health support and resources. Anxiety and depression in students is high. Suicide rates among adolescents have risen. To avoid issues that may infringe on the safety of staff and the other students, mental health resources may help avoid behavior issues and other issues, such as attendance. A whole-child approach. MUSD should Focus on positive behavior, intervention, and restorative justice practices. All students, be it academic, special education, low-income, etc., should have equal access to a quality education.

“Manteca is dealing with a housing and business boom which leads to more impact on our schools as they dealing with an increase in students. The District has done well to realign the school zone districts to deal with this rapid growth. However, the increased impact on the District continues and the District must be ready to deal with the influx of students. A look towards the future will likely be a need for another school, and increased campus capacities. More funding resources will be needed to fulfill these demands.”


“Manteca Unified has been and continues to be one of the very best school districts and continues to be one!

“One of the most significant issues confronting all public schools is funding. Manteca Unified needs to continue be pro-active in securing funding for all aspects of education, new schools, funding for maintenance of all schools, being capable to keep budgeting for all divisions, teachers, administrators and all classified positions. 

“Secondly, Manteca Unified School District needs to continue to provide staff development for all teachers at all grade levels and subject areas. I know Manteca Unified has done well on school accreditations for all of their high schools because of past efforts of staff development. Manteca Unified has a very good reputation around the state because of their successful efforts.”


“Both generally and specifically, I see money, or more precisely a lack of adequate funding, as the most significant issue confronting public education. Without adequate funding, new schools can’t be built, existing schools can’t be optimally repaired in a timely manner, teachers and staff can’t be paid commensurate to their needs, new technology and materials are financially out of reach, and innovative programs to address students’ needs are unaffordable. 

“MUSD needs to push for better funding from all available sources, locally, statewide, and nationally. However, I believe the district can successfully ask local voters to assume additional financial responsibility for only a finite amount of school bonds. Timing, in my opinion, is critical, flitting up local sources too often only results in resentment and backlash. Even if voters recognize the needs of the school district, they eventually become unwilling to bear the burden of the cost. instead, the district should concentrate on making the public aware of the woefully inadequate state/ federal funding.

“California’s budget may increase by millions for education, which seems a positive step, but measured against the realities of the immense needs of schools throughout the state, this increase is clearly insufficient. School boards throughout the state need to make their communities aware of the actual fiscal needs of their districts and then publicize how meager the amount they receive from the state truly is. Rather than asking for a tax increase, the districts could push for a better allocation to schools of tax money that the state already receives. Getting the general public aware and involved as valued community advocates could give this important cause more weight.”


“Engaging the public in education: I view an effective and relevant preparation for and practice of democratic citizenship to be the most significant and ongoing issue for public education. As Thomas Jefferson said: “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” In MIJSD such preparation could include the centering of families and their children through preschool for all who want it, home visits for all who welcome this, and student based budgeting which starts with the individual needs of learners. 

“Furthermore engagement can be increased through site based decision making which empowers local solutions and requires all district decisions to start with site collaboration and to reflect the consensus of those most affected. Additionally student voice can be engaged by strengthening and the policy making roles of the Leadership Councils at the Elementary Schools and the Student Trustees at the high schools. “Improving Staff Morale: I view public education to be primarily about nurturing resiliency. This makes it primarily a people caring activity. As Diane Ravitch said: “Teachers (and classified staff) working conditions are students learning conditions.” In MUSD caring can be improved by returning to the 2008 budget priorities of 85 to 90% of our expenses going to people rather than continuing to decrease spending on people (now at 82%). Morale can be improved by committing to regular COLAs, paying SSAs $15 an hour so none need SNAP, and removing artificial caps on hours that seek to avoid paying benefits. More importantly, no jobs should be eliminated without a minimum of a year’s conversation that insures that those most affected have the most voice.”