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Latest in West Sacramento youth sports

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 10, 2013 —

To those of you that see me out and about, thanks for letting me know you read these articles! I appreciate it.

The latest youth sports news:

Stonegate Elementary is champion of the boys division in Washington Unified School District basketball.

BY DON SCHATZEL: Don is a former city parks director & occasional News-Ledger columnist

BY DON SCHATZEL: Don is a former city parks director & occasional News-Ledger columnist

Riverbank was the host site, with cheerleaders, banners, and dragon mascots from Westmore Oaks.

Southport squared off against  Riverbank in the third place game and Southport was victorious, 44-33.

Southport raced off to a  21-12 lead and never looked back.

Nate Cornell and Kamron Johnston provided highlights for Southport and Shawn Shields had a great game for the hard-working River Otters.

The championship game featured the very tall Stonegate team, with an impenetrable 2-3 zone defense, against  Westmore Oaks. In the end, the Stonegate height was too much and they won the championship 38-28.

Isiah Peraa, Eric Creer, Sahil Gil, Miguel Martinez Brisyn Saludares, Lorenzo Burks were all pointed out as having outstanding games and season for Stonegate.

Elijah Fields lead the Westmore Oaks charge!

Evidently, there are lots of terrific players on their way to River City High School next year.

Youth softball, Baseball, volleyball and swimming are now underway in town, It’s the busiest sports season of the year.

Plans are being made now for next season’s metro soccer program, for those interested. Alberto Terrico is the organizer to call 510-673-7871 to play metro – the ‘best of the best’ soccer!

Softball and soccer at River City are having historically successful seasons, as the wave of young players continues moving into high school. It’s great fun to watch them play and represent West Sac.

The Attack, the Hitterz, Hooligans, Pumas, Saints, Dolphins, Tigers, and Arsenal youth sports teams in West Sacramento all continue their march to high school success.

One of the great opportunities provided to youth sports teams here is access to UC Davis and Sac State sports. The university games have very family-oriented pricing and  great quality of play in any sport. I happened to see what seemed like the entire West Sacramento softball family at the recent Sac State game vs Cal in women’s softball.  Cal is number 5 in the country, and won the game 1-0 on  a home run. Great seats, great facility, actually the highest attendance in Sac State softball history. Both Sac State and UC Davis have great programs and are perfect for teaching young athletes through example.

For the horse fans: West Sacramento Trail Riders Association is hosting their annual  dinner, raffle fundraiser on May 11. You can call me for tickets at 371-1513.

Hey, the sun is out finally, and this is the time of year to go outdoors.

Until next time.

 

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

Kirby-Gonzalez wins board seat

SARAH  KIRBY-GONZALEZ: She's a teacher in another district, Southport resident, parent and the newest member of West Sacramento's school board (News-Ledger photo)

SARAH
KIRBY-GONZALEZ:
She’s a teacher in another district, Southport resident, a parent and the newest member of West Sacramento’s school board (News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — FEB 5, 2013

West Sacramento voters today used an all-mail election to fill the last year and a half of a vacant four-year seat on the local school board.

The Yolo County Elections Office has released the preliminary results of that vote, and the apparent winner is Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, a teacher in the Folsom-Cordova school district. The early count credits her with 2,573 votes, or 50.7 percent of the vote.

She is followed by Francisco Castillo, an official with the StudentsFirst reform organization, who has 1,315 votes (25.9%). The pair campaigned heavily and with tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations. Kirby-Gonzalez drew support form teachers’ unions, and Castillo from StudentsFirst and charter school advocates.

Finishing up the field:

Linh Nguyen, 738 votes (14.5%)

Katherine Gales, 252 votes (5.0%)

and Nicholas Turney, 200 votes (3.9%)

Kirby-Gonzales will fill the last year and a half of the four-year school board term vacated by Sandra Vargas on the Washington Unified School District board of trustees.

More in the next edition of the News-Ledger.

  UPDATE, MARCH 6, 2013: The Yolo County Elections Department has updated the results and made them “final and official.” Sarah Kirby Gonzalez was credited with a victory over second-place Francisco Castillo by 51.2% to 26.1%.

  Voter turnout in West Sacramento was 5,520 out of 23,141 registered voters, or 23.9%.

  For the full vote tally, visit the Yolo County Elections Department page here.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

 

CANDIDATE INTERVIEW: David Westin

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 24, 2012 —

  EDITOR’S NOTE: The News-Ledger interviewed each candidate for West Sacramento’s city council and school board during the past couple of month, in an effort to help voters get to know them and their positions. Below is the result of our interview with school board incumbent David Westin, published in the newspaper on Oct. 24:

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

DAVE WESTIN: Believes in accountability for management of West Sacramento public school district (photo from WUSD website)

“Philosophically, I believe the district functions best when you have parents on the school board who have kids in the district,” said school board incumbent David Westin, who is seeking another term. “I think there’s a disconnect when people are using the school board as a stepping stone for city council or county supervisor.”

Westin and his family live in the Bridgeway Lakes part of Southport. He and his wife have had seven kids (one is deceased).

“I’m very proud to have children in the Washington Unified School District,” he told the News-Ledger. “I have one in first grade, one in third, and one will be entering kindergarten next fall.”

Westin is currently an executive for a German tech company. He has a bachelor’s degree in business finance from USC and an accounting certificate from Golden Gate University.

Westin believes that the district’s API performance is a meter of its recent success. In the two years preceding this one, WUSD saw its performance on this index of student test scores go up a total of 48 points. This year, there was a one-point slip.

“We’ve been able to change the culture in the district, and run it more like a business, with quantifiable goals and objectives,” he said. “During my two terms as board president, we were the top-rated school district in the state of California.”

That rating, he said, was based on the improvements in API scores.

How much is Westin responsible for the gains?

“I think I take some of the credit for being board president during those record-breaking years, and setting the vision that enabled us to achieve that,” he answered. “However, that said, the credit really goes to the administrators, staff, parents, teachers and the kids who did the work.”

Other positive signs for West Sacramento’s public school district include an increase in the state funding that comes in proportion to the “ADA,” or average daily attendance. Local schools are getting more ADA money because they are seeing more students from day to day in the classrooms.

“You’re seeing that in the additional $370,000 in ADA we’ve picked up,” said Westin. “That means two things – one, more people are putting their kids in the district, and two, the attendance rate has gone up so we’re engaging kids more effectively. . . The dropout rate has gone down significantly. It beats the county and state averages.”

So why did the API scores cease their upward climb this year?

Some of that is due to the economic instability of families, and to other changes like drawing new boundaries for local school attendance and changing the campuses attended by some kids, he said.

“This year, there was a one-point drop in API district-wide. There was a lot of that drop in the north. I would say that when we have families hurting, that’s going to affect the kids – they may not have stable home life or the resources to (compete).”

“There are districts like Natomas, Rancho Cordova, etc., that have fallen completely off the cliff with test scores. We’ve been able to hold steady.”

Westin believes “the current model is solid” and the school board “is doing a very good job” despite big cuts in state funding that have translated into harsh measures like reduction of most school bus service.

[adrotate group=”7″]   “I think the number-one challenge is money,” he commented.

He said he backs the political endorsements of the California School Boards Association, which urges “yes” votes on the governor’s Proposition 30 and Molly Munger’s Prop. 38 – both of which may use taxes in part to help out public schools.

If money starts to come back, where would Westin spend it?

“Number one is to reinstate busing,” he answered. I think that’s strategically important. Number two, is that the number-one issue from the parents’ perspective is to get kids to do their homework. So having more after-school homework support groups for kids is (my other) top priority.”

Another tactic to improve education:

“One of the things that will take the district to the next level is to implement a peer-to-peer program so that principals from different schools can go see how other schools in the district are run, and take ‘best practices.’ Also teachers – so a math teacher from, say, Riverbank can go see how math is taught at Bridgeway or how English is taught at Southport, or how they do it at Westmore Oaks. . . I think everyone has been focusing on taking the district to (this) level and this is what will take it to a higher level.”

What about charter schools: does Westin tend to approve of them, or disapprove of them?

“I don’t have a bias,” he answered. I am an independent person who can put children first, politics second. It’s a case-by-case basis (for considering them).”

What does a board member’s job description look like, according to this veteran school board member?

“Insuring there is accountability, transparency and bottom-line results.”

Westin reports having been endorsed by retiring board president Teresa Blackmer, current board member Adam Menke, challenger Alicia Cruz, the River City Democratic Club and the local teachers’ union.

Is Westin running hard for re-election to the board of trustees?

“I’m very active in walking precincts and I enjoy meeting the public,” he said. “One of the things that sets me apart from everybody else is, for the last eight years, I’ve had regular office hours at my house every Monday from 5-6.”

Interested people may call him at 376-0880 to schedule an appointment to talk about their WUSD concerns, said Westin.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Meet Walt Bowman, WUSD candidate

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 3, 2012 —

  Editor’s Note: each local election cycle, the News-Ledger invites all candidates for West Sacramento local office to meet us for a published interview. Those interviews are seen first by News-Ledger subscribers. We’re pleased to offer our Oct. 3 interview with Walt Bowman below. He’s running for one of three available seats on the Washington Unified School District school board.

By Steve Marschke, News-Ledger Editor

Walt Bowman is a 71-year old retired truck driver who lives with his wife in the West Capitol Avenue area of West Sacramento. This November, for the second time, he will be trying to earn a spot on the Washington Unified School District Board of Trustees.

What’s driving him?

“I want to get one person off the board,” he mentioned. “I’m not going to name any names. I want to put new faces on the board. I’d like to see three new faces this time around – whether it’s me or not doesn’t matter.”

WALT BOWMAN: retired truck driver wants to change up West Sacramento's school board (News-Ledger photo)

Bowman is one of a handful of challengers joining incumbents David Westin and Mary Leland in pursuing three available seats on the school board. His own two kids are grown, but he became angry when the board made moves to close the charter school that two of his  granddaughters were attending. That school, the West Sacramento Early College Prep Charter School, has been deemed to be underperforming.

“They wanted to close that school,” Bowman told the News-Ledger last week. That started me getting mad, and my daughter said, ‘instead of getting mad, why don’t you run?’”

“I like charter schools,” he added. “I’m for it. If I’m on the board, every time it comes up, I’m going to vote for it. They’re an alternative education – some kids don’t fit in well at the regular schools, for one reason or another.”

Bowman has another grandchild at Stonegate Elementary. He has lived in New Mexico and in the Bay Area, and he spent a year at Chabot College in Hayward before his career in long-haul and local trucking.

How does he think the current board is doing – aside from the charter school issue?

“Overall, they might be doing OK,” Bowman allowed.

How about the district’s finances in this era of state-budget cuts?

“I feel they have the money,” said Bowman. “Like everybody else, they say ‘oh, we don’t have the money.’ But if they don’t have the money, how are they paying the teachers?”

[adrotate group=”10″]  Student test scores have gone up in the past two years. Is that important?

“These people on the board now make a big deal of that,” he answered. “But they’re not in there taking that test. They’re not in the classrooms teaching. Yet they’re saying, ‘we got the test scores up.’ No, they didn’t.”

What does Bowman think of the quality of WUSD’s schools?

“They’re probably doing okay,” he answered, “but the schools on this side of the town (in the north) are kind of overlooked. I don’t think they give the schools on this side of town a fair shake.”

What big challenges does he see in the district?

“They say it’s money, but another thing is that there’s a high drop-out rate at the high school,” answered Bowman. “That’s going to be a big problem to fix. We should hire high-end mental health counselors and bring them in here. We can sit them down and get inside these kids’ heads and figure out what’s going on. They’re going to say it’s going to cost the district money. But, well. . . .”

Does Bowman have other ideas for improving the district?

“Probably some of these kids need a lot of help. Like counselors, or some kind of aides to help these kids.”

“If politicians would keep their noses out of it, and let the schools teach, the students would be better off.”

West Sacramento voters elect their school board (and their city council) “at large,” meaning there is one group of candidates voted on by people from every neighborhood. Bowman would like to see future school board voting done by districts, to help the northern part of town get more consistent representation.

“If we go by district, everyone will have a fair chance,” he explained. “You’re going to have a mix of people from Bryte, Broderick, (the central business district) and so on. You’d get a cross-section of people on there. Things would get done.”

What will Bowman do if elected?

“If I get in there, I will try to get the buses back,” he responded. The district – reacting to budget cuts – has cut a lot of its school bus service recently.

Bowman said he will not be spending a lot on his campaign, because “I don’t like to go out and ask for money.”

“I’m not backed by anybody (on the board or city council) and I don’t belong to this group or that group. But I’m going to give it a shot.”

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2012