Local News

Davis, county school board races firming up

By From page A5 | August 12, 2014


Alan Fernandes. Courtesy photo

Davis school board trustee Alan Fernandes — appointed in May to fill an unexpired term of trustee Nancy Peterson, who resigned in March — will keep his seat on the school board for two more years.

Fernandes was the only candidate to file by Friday’s deadline for the remaining two years of the unexpired term. Since he is unopposed, his name will not appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Two-term Davis school board incumbents Sheila Allen, Gina Daleiden and Tim Taylor — each of whom has served nine years — did not file for re-election. So the candidacy filing period for those three seats, which come with four-year terms, was automatically extended until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Thus far, five people — Barbara Archer, Madhavi Sunder, Robert Poppenga, Chuck Rairdan and Tom Adams — have turned in candidacy papers with the Yolo County Elections Department. Others could join this pool between now and Wednesday.

And it appears that there will be one candidate for each of the four seats at stake on the Yolo County Board of Education.

* Incumbent Bill Owens, who represents portions of Davis, was the only candidate to file for Trustee Area 2.

Owens works as a mediator/facilitator, adviser and attorney; he had offices in Sacramento for nearly 20 years, and moved his office to Davis in June. Owens served on the Explorit Science Center board of trustees for 16 years, including six years as president.

He was elected to the Yolo County Board of Education (running unopposed) in 2010; he is serving as board president this year. Owens and his wife and two daughters have lived in Davis since 1990.

* Incumbent Xavier Gamez, who represents West Sacramento (Trustee Area 1), is seeking a second term. Gamez works in the admissions department at the Elk Grove branch of DeVry University, an academic institution that has over 80 branch offices around the country.

He is working on a master’s degree with an emphasis in educational leadership, through DeVry. He has a daughter who attends elementary school in West Sacramento.

Another candidate, Matt Taylor, filed candidacy papers on Friday for the West Sacramento seat. But Taylor indicated to The Enterprise in an email Friday evening that he had decided not to run after all. However, the Yolo County Elections Department reported Monday that it is too late to take Taylor’s name off the ballot.

* Longtime Woodland resident Meg Stallard is a candidate in Trustee Area 3. Stallard, who has served on the Woodland school board, she comes from a family that is prominent in Woodland’s political, cultural and business affairs. (Her husband Tom is currently serving as Woodland’s mayor; he also served for eight years on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.)

Woodland resident Blair Howard, who teaches at King High School in Davis, filed candidacy papers in July for Trustee Area 3, but later withdrew.

* Longtime Woodland resident Carol Souza Cole is running in Trustee Area 5. A professional grant writer. she served two terms on the Woodland school board, including time as school board president.

Stepping down is longtime incumbent Nancy Lea of Woodland.

“After much thought, I have decided not to seek re-election for Trustee Area 5,” Lea said. “I was first elected in 1993 so, at the commencement of the December 2014 YCBE meeting, at the point my replacement is sworn in, I will have served 21 years.

“I have focused my board efforts on the students who are within the Yolo County Office system and the teachers who serve them. I have also been vigilant to protect the interests of the taxpayers who fund all public services. They are entitled to a board that is mindful of its public trust when it comes to spending public funds.”

One of those spending issues is the setting of the salary for newly elected Yolo County Superintendent Jesse Ortiz. Lea raised the issue at July’s board meeting and a 45-minute discussion ensued. Further discussion is likely at the August and September meetings.

“I am concerned that the incoming Yolo County superintendent may attempt to undermine the fiscal issues of concern to me,” she said. “Over the years the present superintendent’s compensation has been inflated by the board’s awareness of his increasing professional experience and, more importantly, what I believe is a misguided tendency to equate the position of county superintendent with that of district superintendents.

“The two positions have almost nothing in common: A district superintendent serves at the pleasure of its board and has vastly greater responsibilities. It is for the latter reason that almost no county superintendent would be considered for the post of district superintendent.”

Lea said that, under California law, the County Board of Education’s one opportunity to reset superintendent compensation is before he or she first takes office; in Ortiz’s case, in January.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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