The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees has two seats up for grabs in the districts' first ever election by geographical area, to be held tomorrow.
In the past TUSD has only held elections using an at-large method. Anyone from anywhere could run for any seat on the board. This year, seats are designated by geographical area and candidates must live within the geographical areas in which they run for election.
One spot up for grabs is Area 2, which includes parts of west Turlock and stretches east to include Crowell Elementary School. Tami Muniz currently holds the Area 2 seat after she was appointed to the seat several years ago. She hopes to regain her seat on the board to complete unfinished business.
“I would like to follow through (with) the implementation of Common Core (Standards), I am very interested to watch it as it all unfolds, and I feel it will be a great benefit to our students as well as giving our teachers back some of the flexibility the teachers had in my school days to reach every student no matter what the challenges are that they bring to the classroom. I have learned so much while being on the board and it's been a huge honor to serve the families of Turlock and I hope that I can continue to do that for another four years,” she said.
Challenger Deborah Martin is also running for Area 2. She has two children in TUSD schools and she is running because she feels her business and leadership background in managing large budgets, planning and negotiation can contribute to the board to provide children with a quality education. Along with Common Core Standards implementation she feels financial management is vital to the district’s success in educating Turlock’s youth.
“I want to use my experience and passion to expand on the successes and improve our Turlock schools,” she said.
Current Trustee Josh Bernard, who opted to not seek reelection, is leaving the other open seat on the board. The vacant spot will represent Area 6 and two candidates are vying for the spot. Area 6 includes Turlock Junior High and Brown Elementary schools.
Area 6 Candidate Joe Lewis, a community volunteer, has a daughter who graduated from Pitman and a son who is currently a senior there. Lewis says his 19 years of leadership experience will enhance the board.
“I will work hard to make sure our school district continues to improve test scores and every dollar benefits our district. I believe in high academic standards and school accountability. My priority will be to make sure that our students receive the academic skills and the needed training necessary to get ready for the very competitive job market,” said Lewis.
Lewis says that the biggest issue facing TUSD is maintaining a balanced budget, and fiscal responsibility while keeping quality teachers.
Jennifer Carter, a graduate of Turlock High with a daughter who graduated from Pitman and another daughter who is a senior, is also running for the Area 6 seat.
Carter believes her time in TUSD schools and experience in upper management makes her an ideal fit for the board.
“I have been actively involved in many student and business organizations over the years, including fiscal and budgetary oversight, employee development, strategic planning, employee/student/member relations and leadership. The Turlock School system was very good for my family and me and has afforded us great opportunities and options. It is my turn to give back to the community and my management experience would make me an ideal candidate to look at all sides of an issue before making the best decision for the district while keeping an eye on long-term, strategic district planning,” she said.
In Trustee Area 4 current TUSD Board President Bob Weaver is running unopposed. Area 4 includes the east section of Turlock with Turlock High School and Dutcher Middle School.
Trustees are not paid and they do not receive any medical benefits.