School board seats are in play

SANDRA VARGAS: Board member submits resignation effective August 31 (News-Ledger file photo)


Vargas, elected in 2006, tenders her resignation but gives no official reason

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento’s school board is in flux, with three of the five seats up for election in November and a fourth board member announcing her resignation.

Board member Sandra Vargas last Wednesday submitted a letter of resignation from her board seat effective Aug. 31. Her letter to Yolo Superintendent of Schools Jorge Ayala did not give a reason for leaving her seat just shy of two years into a four-year term, but did stress her pride in “all the amazing success stories and accomplishments that we have achieved in our wonderful school district” thanks to collaboration among the board, staff and community.

Vargas has not responded to recent requests for comment from the News-Ledger. Two weeks ago, the newspaper left her the first of several messages asking for comment on reports that she might need to resign her seat because she had moved.

District bylaws require board members to reside in the district’s West Sacramento boundaries.

The resignation will apparently come too late for Vargas’s seat to be placed on the upcoming November ballot with the other three scheduled seats.

The board will apparently have the option of appointing a successor to fill Vargas’s term.

The school board is scheduled to discuss such options at this Thursday’s (Aug. 9) board meeting.

Board president Teresa Blackmer has also not responded to requests for comment from the News-Ledger.

On the November ballot are the seats belonging to Blackmer, David Westin and Mary Leland.

Westin told the News-Ledger he would run for another four-year term:

“I feel the district’s in excellent shape,” said Westin. “I’ve led a management overhaul of the way the district does business, especially on the academic side. “Under my two years as board president, we are the top performing school district in the state of California.”

Westin was referring to a measurement of the district’s gains in student test scores.

“Since I’m a parent with a child in the school district, my goal is to continue to keep the district on a positive path.”

On Friday, Leland said she was still evaluating whether to run for another four years. She followed up with an emailed statement that said talked about her time on the board so far:

“I ran with the goal in mind towards, first, transforming the academic achievement of all of our students, and second, implementing a district-wide facilities plan for all schools in West Sacramento,” she said in part. “Our students, teachers, staff, administrators and the board governance team have worked hard to achieve both goals and I’m very proud to be a part of it all. I look forward to continuing to serve our students and our community.”

  Blackmer hasn’t publicly announced her own decision on another term.

Two challengers have filed candidacy papers to run for the three regularly-elected seats:

Coby Pizzotti, who identifies himself as a “consultant/legislative advocate,” and Alicia Cruz, who identifies herself as a “parent/community volunteer.”

The deadline for other challengers to complete their paperwork is Friday, although the deadline will be extended if any of the challengers fails to file for re-election.

  EDITOR’S NOTE: Since going to press with this article, we learned that West Sacramento’s Katie Villegas has filed papers to run for school board as well. She is executive director of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance, and wife of city council member Oscar Villegas.

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