It’s experience vs. new ideas for Whittier Union High School board race – Whittier Daily News | #Education

November’s Whittier Union High School District Board of Education election will feature a choice between experience and new ideas.

But unlike past years, only 40% of the voters will be taking part in the school board election with the new district set-up where board members are elected by district, not on an at large basis.

Incumbents Ralph Pacheco, who has been on the board since 1991 and Tim Schneider, who is seeking his third four-year term, each say the district is on the right track.

Their challengers say they have new ideas and it’s time for a change.

Marcos Garcia is running against Pacheco in District 3 that includes parts of California, Pioneer and Whittier high attendance areas. Jaime Lopez is running against Schneider in District 2 that includes parts of Pioneer and all of Santa Fe high schools’ attendance areas.

In District 2, Lopez, a city of Santa Ana workforce specialist, touts the fact he’s a parent of a son at CalHi and wants the district to do more to make schools safe.

“I feel the kids aren’t safe,” Lopez said. “My plan is to make sure we look into hiring a safety coordinator to address physical and mental concerns and the learning environment under this pandemic.”

But Schneider said schools are safe.

“All schools are surrounded by a fence so we have controlled access to campus, he said. “Exits are manned by security persons.”

Each school also has either a Whittier police officer or Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy depending on which agency serves the area, Schneider said.

Schneider said the school district is on the right track.

“Our schools are among the highest performing in the state,” he said. “We have a unique educational culture at Whittier Union where we involve everyone in our decision-making process.”

In the District 3 race, Pacheco, like Schneider, said the district is doing well and he can keep it that way.

“It’s really important to have individuals who are knowledgeable about how our districts should be governed and making sensible recommendations and policies for our families,” Pacheco said.

However, Garcia, who is in real estate, complained that Santa Fe High is not getting its fair share of improvements from the district.

“We’re the only school that doesn’t have air conditioning in our gym,” he said.

Garcia, who used to coach football at Santa Fe, said he also wants to give the students there a voice.

“We don’t have that right now at our campus,” said Garcia who added that he would listen to the students and bring their ideas to the district.

Pacheco said that there were plans to install air conditioning in the Santa Fe gym but all projects were delayed last year as a result of budget concerns due to the coronavirus crisis. But the air conditioning project is now back on track and already out to bid, he added.

In addition, board members need to represent the entire district, not just your own area, he said.

“My friend Marcos is being parochial,” he said. “When you’re a member of a school board your interests don’t just lie in your trustee area. We have over 11,000 high school students.”


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