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Reports on School Board Candidates Forum at Harding

More details, with candidate statements, from the West Contra Costa school board candidates forum Monday at Harding Elementary School were published Thursday by the Contra Costa Times and Richmond Confidential.

In case you missed the school board candidates forum Monday at Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito and want to know what happened, two additional news accounts appeared Thursday in the Contra Costa Times and on the Richmond Confidential website.

Both accounts agreed that the four candidates for two seats on the West Contra Costa Unified School District board laid extra emphasis on school funding, including two measures on the Nov. 6 ballot for property taxes to benefit West Contra Costa schools.

One is Measure E, a $380-million, long-term bond program, to replace or upgrade school facilities. It would add an estimated $48 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. It requires 55 percent of the voters to pass and would be added to existing taxes on West County property tax bills from five previous school facility bond measures passed by voters since 1998.

The other is Measure G, an extension of the current parcel tax that funds academic programs in schools. It requires a two-thirds yes vote to pass and 7.2 cents per building area. Measure G would extend the tax to June 30, 2018.

About 80 people attended the forum, which was also live webcast on El Cerrito Patch. It was co-sponsored by the Kensington Hilltop Elementary School PTA and Harding and Mira Vista elementary schools.

The discussion consisted largely of responses to questions from the audience. A number of the candidates' responses can be found in the articles from the in the Contra Costa Times and Richmond Confidential

The four candidates are 

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

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

The election will be held Nov. 6.

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Bobbie Ohs Dowling October 06, 2012 at 05:32 AM
The video for several of the questions that night is now posted on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/BaysideCouncilPTAs These are questions about teacher salaries, how poverty impacts schools, gifted and talented programs, bond debt, and class size reduction efforts. You can watch one question at a time.
Giorgio C. October 08, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Is the school board sensitive to those citizens who are struggling financially? I ask because I heard Mr. Studdiford say we should support these bond measures because we are getting a good deal. Does he understand that we are getting a good deal because the economy, including my wages, are in the tank? I currently have been putting more money into our school facilities than I am putting into my house which is in need of repair. Mr. Enos said his father told him to never pass on an opportunity to pay for our schools. Of course, because we are also paying for the salaries of those like Mr. Enos and his father who work for the schools. I'd say the same thing if I were them. During this economic crisis, we have been seeking relief any way we can get it. Maybe skipping this bond measure might be that relief. Homeowners are trying to keep and maintain their homes. In some cases, a family member has lost their job, so we are helping them, too. When I listen to the board and the candidates, I'm observing a disconnect between themselves and me, the taxpayer. They tell us that the state is making cuts. The state is making cuts because many Californians are broke or are struggling. We are also being asked to support additional taxes for fire and safety. This is when I take a closer look at our board members and candidates and ask myself "As citizens, who are they and are they truly able to represent me?"
DJ November 04, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Well stated. Thank you.

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