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School Board Candidates at Harding School Monday Night

The four candidates for two school board seats in the West Contra Costa Unified School District are scheduled to appear at a candidates forum and answer questions from the public at Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito Monday night.

A candidates forum with the four people running for West Contra County school board will be held Monday night, Sept. 24, in the auditorium at Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito.

The 6:30-8 p.m. event is co-sponsored by the Kensington Hilltop Elementary School PTA and Harding and Mira Vista elementary schools.

  • If you're not attending, check El Cerrito Patch's homepage for live video coverage of the forum. We are hoping to do live streaming of the event.

The four candidates for two open seats on the five-member school board of the West Contra Costa Unified School District are

  • retired school principal Randall Enos
  • parent volunteer Todd Groves
  • incumbent Antonio Medrano
  • parent volunteer Robert Studdiford

The large West Contra Costa district ranges from El Cerrito and Kensington in the south to Hercules in the north.

Key issues include funding for academic programs and for replacing aging schools. Strapped for funding, the school board voted in June to increase K-2 class sizes.

On July 24, the board voted to place two revenue measures on the November ballot – Measure E for a bond measure to rebuild or retrofit several of the district's old schools and Measure G to extend the current parcel tax for academic spending.

All four candidates have confirmed that they will attend the Monday night forum, at which they will answer questions from the public, according to a notice from the legislative committeee of the Hilltop Elementary PTA. Those with questions are asked to email them ahead of time to 4westcounty@gmail.com.

“Our parent communities are coming together over common issues like class size reduction and the low teacher salaries in our district," said the notice from the Kensington Hilltop PTA. "Parents have strength in numbers – we have affected some important change in the district over the last two years. We hope to see a great turn out at this forum.

“This election could truly turn the state of education around in California. We've been told that parents have the worst record for voting -- this program is a great opportunity to share resources and educate ourselves and our community on the state propositions and make educated votes when we do vote this fall.”

The election will be held Nov. 6.

Two other school board candidate forums are scheduled next month, the school district announced:

• Thursday, October 11, 2012, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
El Cerrito High School Cafeteria
540 Ashbury Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530-3299

• Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Murphy Elementary School Multi-purpose Room
4350 Valley View Road
Richmond, CA 94803-1499

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Giorgio C. September 23, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I have requested Pinole and Hercules PTAs to consider hosting a candidate forum in order to undo the damage inflicted by the board President as reported here: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_20797383/dublin-voters-give-thumbs-up-property-tax-schools Quote: "The measure passed overwhelmingly in most of the district, but in Pinole and Hercules, they voted just enough to kill it," school board President Charles Ramsey said. "They just don't embrace the funding measures like most of the district voters do." Ramsey said he hopes the vote will spur renewed debate about the possibility of breaking up the district. "We have to have the conversation about whether or not it's in all parties' best interest for Hercules and Pinole to start their own district," Ramsey said. "It's not fair for other communities in our district to have funding measures they overwhelmingly support being stopped by a tiny minority that says no." What's "not fair" is the board President shaming 2 cities during an economic downturn. I believe the PTAs of Pinole and Hercules need to take the lead in showing that our two cities care GREATLY about education, contrary to what the board president might believe.
Leslie Moore September 23, 2012 at 03:02 PM
All, *Late Breaking* We will have free, quality childcare at the event, so please bring your kids! Please come on out and hear what the candidates have to say. Ask a question, or just come and listen. It really matters who takes those seats on the board. See you there!!
Local Mom September 24, 2012 at 01:28 PM
THANK YOU for providing childcare! [I am always surprised at the number of kid-related events that don't.] My husband and I were planning for just one of us to go and one to stay home, but perhaps we'll both be able to come, at least for a little while.
DJ November 04, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Agreed. I've been very bothered that some people blame Pinole and Hercules for the measure not passing. People in El Cerrito also voted against it! Some of us are tired of paying for 6 different school bonds/measures in our property taxes each year, and the district asking for more. Show us the money is being used frugally and wisely before asking for more.

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