Tag Archives: school board

Final vote tallies in West Sac:

NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 12, 2014 —

In West Sacramento, Tuesday was a great night for incumbents.

As voters cast their ballots in the November 4 general election, it seemed they were trying to show they were happy with the current direction of the local school district and city government.

In the mayor’s race, current mayor Christopher Cabaldon took 83.8 percent of the vote, or 5,976 ballots. His challenger, Narinderpal Singh Hundal, was left with 1,156 votes (16.2 percent).

West Sacramento voters were asked to pick two people for the city council, and they picked the two incumbents:

Mark Johannessen led the voting in that race with a vote percent of 42.1 percent (5,030 ballots cast), followed by Christopher Ledesma, with 36.6 percent (36.6 percent).

Challengers Nancy Heth-Tran (11.8 percent, or 1,410 votes) and Jeff Lyon (9.5 percent, 1,137 votes) fared less well.

Since voters were allowed to cast two votes in the race, their “ballot percentage” could be higher. For example, Johannessen’s name was on two-thirds of the ballots (66.7 percent).

West Sacramento voters were likewise asked to fill two seats on the board of trustees for the Washington Unified School District. Only one incumbent, Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, was defending a seat.

She was returned to the board at the head of the three-person pack, with a vote percentage of 42.9 percent (4,445 votes). Joining her on the board will be challenger Norma Alcala (37.1 percent, 3,844 votes).

Fellow challenger Joshua Alves earned 2,084 votes, or 20.1 percent.

Local voters approved a $49.8 million school bond, “Measure V,” by a strong majority. The bond is meant to raise money to fix and upgrade local campuses.

Measure V needed 55 percent of the vote to pass. It earned 4,758 votes, for 66.6 percent. A total of 2,391 voters said “no.” The win stretched across all precincts.

The Yolo County Elections Department reports a turnout of 7,509 voters in West Sacramento – 32.9 percent of the city’s 22,800 registered voters.

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West Sac elections: a good night for the incumbents

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — TUESDAY, NOV 4, 2014 —

As early returns came in from today’s voting, West Sacramento voters appeared to be happy with the local status quo.  The early and unofficial tally so far:

MAYOR OF WEST SACRAMENTO

Christopher Cabaldon (incumbent): 3,431 votes or 84.7%

Narinderpal Hundal: 621 votes, or 15.3%

 

CITY COUNCIL OF WEST SACRAMENTO (voters choose two)

Mark Johannessen (incumbent): 2,956 votes, or 69.1% of the ballot

Chris Ledesma (incumbent): 2,492 votes, or 58.3% of the ballot

Nancy Heth-Tran: 791 votes, or 18.5% of the ballot

Jeff Lyon: 680 votes, or 15.9% of the ballot

 

WASHINGTON UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD (voters choose two)

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez (incumbent): 2,576 votes, or 60.2% of the ballot

Norma Alcala: 2,266 votes, or 53% of the ballot

Joshua R. Alves: 1,133 votes, or 26.5% of the ballot

 

MEASURE V — $49.8 MILLION SCHOOL BOND (needs 55%)

Yes: 2,776 votes, or 67.7%

No: 1,327 votes, or 32.3%

 

The News-Ledger will provide a final report in next Wednesday’s edition.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Check out any of the News-Ledger’s 2014 candidate interviews:

voteNEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — NOV. 2, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, is time to vote again.

Among the choices on West Sacramento’s ballot are decision’s about whom to send to the local city council, school board, and mayor’s office. There’s also a school bond measure designed to use extra taxes to help upgrade and repair local schools.

As is the News-Ledger’s tradition, this year we invited everyone running for one of these seats to talk with us about their goals for office and answer some of our questions.  These interviews are made possible by the newspaper’s subscribers and advertisers.

You can now find any of those interviews at the links below:

MAYOR OF WEST SACRAMENTO

Christopher Cabaldon (incumbent)

Narinderpal Hundal

 

CITY COUNCIL OF WEST SACRAMENTO (choose two)

MARK JOHANNESSEN (incumbent)

CHRIS LEDESMA (incumbent)

JEFF LYON

(NANCY HETH-TRAN declined an invitation to interview with the News-Ledger)

 

BOARD OF TRUSTEES, WASHINGTON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (choose two)

NORMA ALCALA

JOSHUA ALVES

SARAH KIRBY-GONZALEZ

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Kirby-Gonzalez believes experience as teacher helps her on school board

NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 22, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez has been on the school board in West Sacramento for less than 18 months, following a victory in a special election held to fill a vacancy. She’d like four more years.

SARAH  KIRBY-GONZALEZ News-Ledger photo

SARAH
KIRBY-GONZALEZ
News-Ledger photo

“We have done some very good things,” Kirby-Gonzalez reports. “Just in that short amount of time, I think one of the biggest things the board has done is (create) the visual and performing arts plan, and that’s now rolled out to our fourth- and fifth-grade classes as well as all the way up to high school. I’d like to see it expanded even beyond that.”

Visual and Performing Arts, or “VAPA,” is one of the district’s top priorities at present. Also on that list are facilities improvements, technology and “recruiting, retaining and sustaining personnel.”

Kirby-Gonzalez said that she is in agreement with that roster of strategic goals, and she enjoys serving on an effective Washington Unified School District school board.

She’s a teacher in the Folsom-Cordova district (where she was a “teacher of the year” in 2011) and her husband works as a police officer outside West Sacramento. They have two kids – not yet of school age – who will go to public school in this city, said Kirby-Gonzalez.

The couple has lived in the Bridgeway Lakes area for about half a dozen years. Kirby-Gonzalez says she grew up in Carmichael and Auburn, going to a Catholic elementary school.

“I went to Placer High School, Sierra College and then Sac State for my master’s credential, she said. I’ve been teaching for 11 years.”

Kirby-Gonzalez, 34, believes that her experience as a teacher helps her as a board member. She notes that in the years before she became a trustee, WUSD had been focused tightly on one thing, and that was achieving high marks in student test scores. As a teacher, she thinks that was short-sighted and the current policy is a better one.

“Standardized test scores had been very, very prominent with the last board – that’s what they focused on,” she commented. “For folks that really understand education and read the research, they know that’s been a disservice for kids, especially our low-income kids. Standardized tests have not helped us in the way we’ve needed.”

Preparing kids for standardized tests often meant stressing rote memorization and neglecting the teaching of writing (since it was only tested at two grade levels), said Kirby-Gonzalez. But now these tests are just one part of a more “holistic” approach. Parental involvement at schools, graduation rates, and dropout are some of the other measures now used on local schools.

In West Sacramento, it’s been the southern-most schools – like Bridgeway – that have led the district in test score results. Does that mean they’re better schools?

“No,” she answered, explaining that test scores are mostly a reflection of “the socioeconomic area” and not of the quality of schools.

Nevertheless, northern schools need more help:

“They definitely have more facility needs because their schools are older,” said Kirby-Gonzalez. “The teachers do a nice job making the rooms look pretty, but you pull off a poster and the wall is falling apart and bad things are happening”

Despite that, she said, some of the north-city schools are doing great things – such as Elkhorn’s partnership with UC Davis that brings teaching help into local classrooms.

What, exactly, does a school board member do besides end meetings on Thursday nights?

“I think one of the biggest things is listening to the community and being visible to the community,” answered Kirby-Gonzalez. “Also, studying policy so that kids are getting the best environment in the classrooms. And also evaluating the superintendent.”

She noted that before she became a board member, WUSD had just been through a recession and had to make serious budget cuts.

“Some of it has come back, but of course we’d like more,” she said. “Now, there’s busing again at the high school. One of the issues was that kids who stayed late at school for sports didn’t have a bus, and now there’s a bus.”

Fixing up school facilities remains a major need.

“We already have our capital improvement plan which identifies over $200 million in needs,” she commented. “That’s a big piece of the puzzle. . . We need expansion – some of our places are overflowing, like Bridgeway (Elementary School). And even the high school is going to need another wing. In terms of new programs, I’d like to see more professional development for teachers.”

Kirby-Gonzalez and her board colleagues have created Measure V, a $49.8 million bond, on the November 4 ballot to try to take a bite out of some of those facilities projects.

The district is doing a good job implementing the new “Common Core” standards, said Kirby-Gonzalez. And she likes the new standards.

“There are people who worry about it being a federal takeover and there are people who worry that it’s too open-ended for kids, but I think on the whole it’s much better than the ’97 standards,” said the candidate.  She added that writing is much more important in the new standards.

Kirby-Gonzalez will try to defend her seat on the November 4 ballot. Also running for two available seats are challengers Norma Alcala and Joshua Alves. You can find more information about her at www.Sarah4Schools.com or on Facebook.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014