Budget, funding, and mandates were almost associated with every candidate’s answer during Thursday night’s School Board Candidates’ forum held by the League of Women Voters and the Walnut School PTA of Turlock.
School Board Candidates Lori Crivelli, Timm LaVelle, Josh Bernard, Bob Weaver, and Tami Muniz all introduced themselves to the approximate 50 people in attendance while also fielding several questions from the audience. Candidate Felisha Renshaw was not able to attend due to a previously scheduled trip out of the state although she did send a brief statement that was read by the forum’s moderator.
The question and answer portion of the night revealed that most of the candidates agreed on most issues; kids first, safety is a top priority, quality staff is crucial, that there are curriculum challenges, fiscal status and state mandates tie the districts hands, and what seems to be the biggest issue in the race… taking City of Turlock Redevelopment Agency funding to renovate Joe Debely Stadium at Turlock High School.
The last question of the night was “What is your position on using Turlock Redevelopment funds to finance the Turlock High football field?”
Bob Weaver answered “Well as a Board Member speaking for the children of the district, if that money was to come to the district and looking at the well-being of our students… I think it would be a God-send to our district.”
Weaver went on to state that if the city funds were offered, the concern would be to keep control of the district’s facility while also suggesting that the Turf Crew’s current fundraising effort goes toward a Pitman stadium.
Lori Crivelli said “When I was first asked this question, obviously I have a lot of questions. I support it 100 percent as long as the school district can remain in control of the facility.”
Crivelli said that her son plays football on the field and that it is very dangerous by the third week of the season. She also added that the facility could be host to many community events bringing in more revenue into the city.
Timm LaValle agreed saying “What belongs with to the School District must stay in control of the School District. The issue of the RDA funding is not a school issue, it is a city issue. If the city can overcome their hurdles and their problems in giving up $2.8 million to the School District, then naturally we’ll gladly accept the $2.8 million.”
LaVelle went further than stating his stance as a Board Member and added his personal view as a citizen of this community. He pointed out that Turlock still has schools where there are no sidewalks leading to them and feels there are higher priorities than renovating a stadium.
Tami Muniz responded by saying “I feel as a School Board Member I’d be foolish to not take money from the City to take care of that field that we can’t afford to pay for on our own.”
Muniz also added a personal view as a citizen and taxpayer by stating that she feels the RDA money could be better spent on other things in our city.
Josh Bernard responded simply with “I support the use of RDA money to repair the field and track. I would hate to have one of our student athletes get injured whenever we have the opportunity to accept money that is being given freely.”
TurlockCityNews.com will broadcast the recorded candidates’ forum at an announced scheduled time and will also post candidate Q & A submissions soon.