Pleasanton school board trustees sworn in to new terms

Administrators also give bond program update at final meeting of 2016

In front of a packed audience of friends, relatives and other well-wishers, re-elected trustees Valerie Arkin and Jamie Hintzke and newly elected member Steve Maher were sworn in to new four-year terms Tuesday night.

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley administered the oath of office to Arkin and Hintzke, while Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne did so for Maher during an organizational meeting that preceded the regularly scheduled board meeting.

They were the top vote-getters in a four-person race for three seats up for election Nov. 8. Maher, the retired principal of Hart Middle School, took Chris Grant's seat, as Grant decided he would not seek re-election after nearly a decade on the board.

Hintzke and trustee Arkin won their third consecutive terms, with Hintzke edging out challenger Kathleen Ruegsegger by 144 votes.

Speaking for the first time as trustee, Maher said he welcomed sitting on a board that's “passionate for children.”

“I promise to always make decisions that are best for students,” Maher said.

Hintzke, who served as board president this year, said she was excited for another four years.

“I'm very grateful being reelected to my ninth year,” Hintzke said. “To do this job, you have to really be able to feel – you have to be compassionate, empathetic.”

Arkin thanked her family, campaign volunteers and others during a brief speech after trustees were sworn in.

“I really feel it is an honor and privilege to be re-elected to a third term,” she said.

After the oath of office, trustee Joan Laursen was appointed the new board president for the next year. Mark Miller will remain vice president.

Alongside acknowledgments of Fairlands Elementary School and Measure I1 bond chairs and committee members, the board recognized Grant for his service.

Superintendent Rick Rubino and trustees each spoke and thanked Grant for his work, and he received commendations from several politicians.

Grant, in turn thanked his family, board members, teachers and administrators for their support.

“It's been an unbelievable privilege to serve on this board,” he said. “Thanks is not necessary at any length. I've thought about this as a true honor every single day I served on the board.”

Later in the evening, talk about the election turned to Measure I1.

Pleasanton voters passed the $270 million bond initiative with 69.1% support. The bond proceeds can only be spent on school projects dealing with safety and security; 21st century learning environments; energy and water efficiencies; and renovations and replacements of existing facilities, as specified in the ballot language.

Administrators presented the board with immediate next steps associated with the bond program, which include opening an application window for a citizens bond oversight committee, setting policies and procedures for that committee, and creating a director of facilities and construction position.

The board voted to reinstate the director of facilities and construction position later in the meeting. Trustees are slated to certify election results and review the citizens bond oversight committee application and set of policies at the next board meeting Jan. 17.

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