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School Board Candidates Forum Draws Dozens

About 80 people attended a candidates forum for the West Contra Costa school board race at Harding Elementary in El Cerrito Monday night. The event was live broadcast on El Cerrito Patch.

The four people running for West Contra County school board drew an audience of about 80 people for a candidates forum Monday night at Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito.

The 6:30-8 p.m. event was co-sponsored by the Kensington Hilltop Elementary School PTA and Harding and Mira Vista elementary schools. About 80 people turned out for the panel, moderated by Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor of Kensington Hilltop PTA.

The event also marked a test run of live video coverage by El Cerrito Patch. It was our first attempt at live streaming of news. We hope to provide access to a recording of the forum and also, in future video coverage, to fix the problems with the picture quality we experienced in this initial effort.

Among the issues discussed by the candidates were funding, class sizes, school bonds, career academies, what to do with a $5 million windfall, charter schools, breaking up the large district and two ballot measures designed to raise funds for the district.

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.

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.

We hope to have a more detailed report about the candidates' discussion soon.

The election will be held Nov. 6.

Two other school board candidate forums are scheduled next month:

• 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

Mike C September 25, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Big "thank you" to the organizers of this school board debate; I'm glad I had the opportunity to hear from the candidates. As would be no surprise to readers of Todd Groves' commentary on Patch, he was clear about his commitment to improving student performance (and meeting educational needs) at all levels, and his commitment to driving reforms that are based on evidence, best-practices, and benchmarking. The other three each made some good and encouraging comments, as well as some that really rubbed me the wrong way ... so I'm still not sure who will get my second vote. Hopefully Patch will get the full video online so that it can be watched by folks who were unable to attend in person.
Charles Cowens September 25, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Congratulation on your first live-streaming! I look forward to the archive.
Giorgio C. September 26, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Thank you Superintendent Harter, and board members. I am seeing evidence that the voices of Hercules and Pinole are already being heard. This means a great deal to me. I will quit bashing your efforts and instead will do my part to support our district. To the candidates, good luck to you all. Sincerely, Giorgio Cosentino, Hercules

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