San Lorenzo Express News

Seven Candidates and a $49 Million Bond Measure Face San Lorenzo School District Voters

OCTOBER 3, 2004

Voters in the San Lorenzo Unified School District are being asked to approve the first capital funding for school construction in more than 50 years. In addition, they must elect three members of the community to the school board.

One Incumbent Seeks Return to School Board

Seven persons are competing for three seats on the San Lorenzo Unified School District board in November. Candidates include one incumbent seeking reelection and six candidates vying for two seats that became open because of resignation and retirement.

Trustee Barbara Sidari decided not to run for reelection this time. Trustee Ray Grangoff resigned mid-term to attend graduate school in Washington, D.C.

In the 2002 election for school trustees three incumbents and one former trustee were among 10 candidates competing for three vacancies.

Of the candidates, four ran in the previous election but did not win seats. Lou Filipovich, a retired businessman and San Leandro resident, has run in the two previous school board elections. Juline Fisher and Helen Foster both ran in the 2002 election, as did Bill Santora, a former San Lorenzo school district trustee.

Candidates were given the opportunity to answer voters' questions at a public meeting sponsored by the League of Women Voters on September 15. The meeting was sparsely attended.

All candidates were personally invited to submit statements of their views to the Express, to be republished here unedited, but none responded.

Lou Filipovich is a San Leandro resident. In addition to running for the school board, he is a candidate for three other public offices on the November ballot. Most of Filipovich's remarks at the Sept. 15 meeting were directed at election practices.

Juline Fisher lives in Ashland and is the parent of children in San Lorenzo schools. She has been active in PTA and special school district committees. She coordinated the contruction of a new playground at Hesperian Elementary by 150 volunteers.

Norm Fobert is the sole incumbent candidate. He has served on the board eight years and is presently the president of the board. His four sons attended San Lorenzo schools. He is a certified teacher and school administrator and is presently is the principal of a Daly City middle school.

Helen Foster lives in San Lorenzo, formerly taught science at San Lorenzo High School, and is now the principal of a middle school in Livermore. She emphasized curriculum strengthening in her remarks September 15. She would also like the district to have a full-day kindergarten program.

Gene Judson was himself a student in San Lorenzo schools and his children are attending or have graduated from our schools. He described himself as an education consultant to community colleges.

Arnold Mew is a commercial loan officer and a retired U.S. Army officer. He lives in Washington Manor and has been active in a number of service organizations in Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. He served on the San Leandro Library Commission for eight years.

Bill Santora served on the San Lorenzo school board in 1996. He was reelected in 2000 but had to resign within a few months when it was learned he no longer lived within the district. He ran for a board seat again in 2002 but lost. His daughters are students in the district's schools. Bill reports that in the last 10 years he has attended all but 12 school board meetings.

Bond Money Would Build Science Labs, Replace Portables

Measure E on the November 2 ballot asks voters to approve a general obligation bond that would produce $49 million for the district. The money could be used only for construction, not for programs or salaries.

The bond money must be used for several projects identified in Measure E. These include new science laboratories for the high schools and middle schools ($15.6 million) as well as replacement of older portable classrooms with permanent buildings ($11.25 million). Funds would also be used to for construction of multi-purpose facilities (combining gymnasiums, music facilities, community centers) for middle schools ($7 million). Other designated uses include replacing delapidated floors and removing asbestos from schools, expanding and modernizing school libraries, and upgrading classroom computer systems.

Voters are urged to read Measure E for full details of how Measure E money would be spent.

The measure requires that a citizens committee, independent of the school district, oversee all spending and report to the community on all construction projects.

The school district operates 13 schools for about 10,000 students. The district covers most of the Eden Township unincorporated area excluding Castro Valley, and includes San Lorenzo, Ashland, and the Royal-Sunset neighborhood near A Street. It also includes Washington Manor neighborhood in the City of San Leandro, an area that was formerly a part of San Lorenzo until annexed by San Leandro in the 1960s.