The Pleasanton Weekly reported today that it is endorsing Chris Grant, Jamie Yee Hintzke and Jeff Bowser for election to the school board on Nov. 4.
Grant was appointed to the school board in February 2007 and is now seeking election to a full four-year term. Hintzke and Bowser are newcomers to the race.
At the same time, the newspaper praised the qualifications of two other candidates also seeking election to the board: Valerie Arkin and Prasad Rallapalli.
"Voters in Pleasanton are fortunate to have five highly qualified candidates vying for the three open seats on the school board in the coming election," said Jeb Bing, publisher and editor of the Weekly.
"We have interviewed all five and are confident that each of them, if elected, would add integrity, enthusiasm and experience to the board," Bing added. "We prefer Bowser, Grant and Hintzke."
A sixth candidate, Stephen Page, declined the Weekly's request for an interview and has not participated in school board candidate forums.
The endorsement editorial, which appears in Friday's print edition of the Pleasanton Weekly, follows:
Grant, Hintzke and Bowser for school board
Three seats are open in the race for Pleasanton Unified School District's board of trustees. Most of the candidates would be well-suited for the job, which resulted in a difficult decision in who to endorse. Recognizing the vast experience and varied backgrounds, we recommend incumbent Chris Grant and newcomers Jamie Yee Hintzke and Jeff Bowser.
A senior vice president at Kaiser Permanente, Grant was appointed to the school board in February 2007. He has three children in the district and has long been involved with schools in the community and helped form the district's priorities as a member of the district's Excellence Committee. When the school board had to deal with possible budget cuts for the current school year because of education spending reductions by the state, Grant successfully advocated retaining reading specialists and keeping any cuts away from the classroom.
We also like his outlook for Pleasanton schools--that these schools shouldn't settle with having top academic scores but keep striving to make them even better. In his main goal of making sure that all students have the opportunity to reach their greatest potential, Grant would push for class-size reduction, reading intervention and early assessment programs while also preserving arts and athletics, school safety and fiscal responsibility. His passion for education and children along with his record of working well with the board makes him a candidate we support.
Jamie Yee Hintzke
Well-known in schools for her involvement in the PTA Council, Hintzke's devotion to Pleasanton schools is undeniable. It was her commitment to the PTA Council president post that kept her from running four years ago, with encouragement from current board members and the community to run this time around. Her goals include academic excellence and support for every student, improving communication between schools and parents, fiscal responsibility and ensuring a healthy and connected environment for the schools. Her familiarity with the district and its processes, her involvement on school and district committees and programs and her effectiveness in addressing regional and state education issues give her credentials we need on the school board.
With his extensive teaching and business experience, Jeff Bowser will bring experience and a solid budget perspective to the school board. He taught at Village High School for five years and was an administrator at Amador and in outside districts before managing a sales team that works with top clients at AT&T, where he has been a manager for the past 10 years. Encouraged to seek a seat on the school board by the late board member Juanita Haugen, he said the time is now right for him to run. Fiscal responsibility is his top priority, and this includes making sure the district pledges adequate resources to ensure that no students--whether those at-risk or with special needs--fall through the cracks in Pleasanton's 14,000-plus school enrollment. Along with children in the school system, Bowser's wife teaches third grade at Hearst Elementary School, which gives him a unique perspective on both sides of the classroom. As for a potential conflict of interest, Bowser was upfront in saying his wife wouldn't be up for promotion if he were to be on the board.
We commend the work and dedication of Prasad Rallapalli and Valerie Arkin whose volunteer work and ideas for better education also impress us. If elected, either one, or both, would be welcome additions to the school board where, unfortunately, only three seats are open this time around. A sixth candidate on the Nov. 4 ballot, Stephen Page, declined our invitation to interview so we have no opinion on his candidacy.