Six to vie for three school board seats | August 15, 2008 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - August 15, 2008

Six to vie for three school board seats

Filing deadline extended as two incumbents decide not to run

by Emily West

With outgoing school board members Kris Weaver and Steve Brozosky not filing for re-election, as of press time, six candidates have met the extended deadline Wednesday to have their names included on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Candidate Valerie Arkin has been active in youth issues for the past 11 years. She has been involved in Mohr Elementary, Harvest Park middle and Amador Valley High schools, as well as served as the program coordinator for seven years with the Parent-Child program with the Tri-Valley YMCA and on their board of directors for three years.

Her priorities include "continuing and improving the high academic standards, maintaining programs during budget challenges and ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our students."

Longtime Pleasanton resident Stephen Page has two children in the school district and was in the running to replace Steve Pulido in January, when he was appointed to an Alameda County Superior Court judgeship.

His desire for schools to have independent oversight from conflict-free people is just part of the reason he decided to run. He hopes to reinforce excellence at all levels, from students to administration, to provide an education that would lead to future success. Another primary goal of Page's is to instill civics education in students for them to become responsible citizens.

With a tight budget looming on the horizon, Page said there are a couple ways to deal with it, but overall raising taxes should only be used as a last resort that is up to the voters.

"First, one can eliminate waste, a painful process which depends upon prioritization," he said. "The second way to deal with it is to increase taxes or 'revenue.' Leading the creation and implementation of a rigorous prioritization process, is the first step, because raising taxes is in the hands of the collective wisdom of the voters, a big 'wild card.'"

Also adding his name to the list of candidates was Jeff Bowser, a product of Pleasanton schools who moved back after college to raise a family in the school district. In the past, he was a teacher and assistant principal at Village High School as well as a district officer and county office administrator.

Saying he's not here to change a lot of things, Bowser said he was running on the urging of the late and longtime school board member Juanita Haugen, and for the chance to give back to his community and to offer new and creative ways of thinking in times of a fiscal crisis. Asked if he would support a parcel tax, Bowser said he supports investigation to see if the community supports it.

Candidate Jamie Yee Hintzke, former PTA Council president, member of several committees and resident of Pleasanton since 1969, said she hasn't made up her mind about the parcel tax either. She recommends putting together a study group and/or a parent group to tap into other ideas to see if a parcel tax or combination of it and something else would be the best route.

She says that the Pleasanton district is fortunate, but she wants to push it farther.

"I'm about going from good to great," she said. "Going a little deeper, wider and looking at ways to fund all these awesome things. It's so great we get to look at extras. It would be such an honor to be on the school board in a district that has so much going for it."

Current board member Chris Grant is hoping to continue his spot on the school board. Citing his passion for public education and service to schools, he hopes to use his business, budgeting and finance experience he has gained as a senior vice president of corporate development and investments at Kaiser Permanente.

He is a proponent of maintaining class size reduction, reading, science and math intervention programs. While commending the work of the district, he also pushes for improvement, saying student safety, continual student achievement and fiscal responsibility are his top priorities.

Prasad Rallapalli has filed, but was out of the country and unable to be contacted prior to deadline.


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