Fresno Bee voter guide

Welcome to our guide for Election 2016 races. Compare candidates' views side by side, then create your own ballot, which you can print or email.

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Important note: Candidates' responses have not been edited except for clarity, language and libel. Candidates provide their own photographs and video. Candidates for non-partisan offices are listed as No Party Preference, regardless of party registration.

Mendota Unified School District {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

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  • Kevin Arias-Romero
    (N)

  • Alma Durazo
    (N)

  • Albert Escobedo
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Lupe Flores
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Rachelle Flores
    (N)

  • Gapo Lua Jr.
    (N)

  • Isabel Maldonado
    (N)

  • Adrian Perez
    (N)

  • Diana Toscano
    (N)

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Biographical Information

Were you pleased with how district officials spent new Local Control Funding Formula dollars this past school year? How would you like to see the new dollars spent this year?

School districts across the state are adjusting to the new Common Core standards. Is the district doing enough to prepare teachers and students for the new standards? What, if anything, would you change about how schools transition to this new way of teaching?

In your opinion, what are the district's top three challenges? How would you address each of these issues?

Do you favor or oppose Proposition 55, which would extend by 12 years the temporary income tax increase enacted in 2012 to support schools and colleges?

Is technology in education important? Is the district doing enough to get devices into the hands of kids? If so, how would you help improve access to technology, especially for low-income or other at-risk students?

Why are you the best candidate to serve on the school board? (Text or YouTube video.)

Age 23
Residence I'm a U.S. Citizen
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Residence Mendota
Family Four daughters & one son
Education High school diploma
Occupation Retire
Public service experience Mendota Planning Commissioner
I was fairly pleased with the way the dollars were spent, would like to see more money spent on more supplies for the classroom.
In the subject of common core we need to partner more with parents and get them more involved with there kids education. Remember everything starts at home.
Number one more class space. Number two more classes to give our kids more opportunity's for them to go forward in life. And finally to take care of all our people in the district. The way to take care of our challenges campaign to pass prop.51 and prop.55 and make sure all dollars are spend on students and to ensure that all district employees are taking care of by our district.
Yes I favor prop 55 and wished it would go beyond 12 years.
Yes for the most part but we need more chrome books for all subjects and to give laptops to all low income students.
I have been involved with kids all my time in Mendota. I have ran multiple programs for the youth of Mendota. I have attended school board meetings for the last 5 years. I have visited all the school sites and i have met with all the administraters. So I have a pretty good handle of all the needs of the schools and I have also witnesses a lot of needs. I was the president of measure M. That passed by 80 percent of the vote. Measure M was to get the funding to remodel our two oldest schools. (Washington and Mccabe) Washington school is now being remodeled and Mccabe will be done next year all because of the funding of measure M. We need to keep moving forward and give our kids every opportunity we can for them to succeed in life. Therefore I think I would make a great addition to our school board and keep us moving forward. Thank You Albert Escobedo
Age 57
Residence Live in Mendota 55 years.
Family John Flores, 32 years married, 4 children Anntoinette Garcia, Alana Amezcua, John JC Flores and Hannah Flores. All children attended Mendota Unified School District.
Education Elementary school through Mendota Unified School district, Tranquillity High School, West Hills Colleges and Masters in Governance certificate from California School Boards Association
Occupation Public Employee, State of California
Public service experience My career of twenty nine years has been in Public Service. My personal experience of public service with Rivers of Living Waters Christian Church servicing the surrounding communities with needs rebuilding the family, economics, freedom from addictions and awareness of Human Trafficking.
Absolutely! The MUSD Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) is an important component of the LCFF, which continues to guides for the district in wise spending of the funds to meet our goals of improving academics with the following eight catorgies 1. Basic Necessities Qualified and properly assigned teachers, sufficient instructional materials, facilities in good repair 2. Implementation of Common Core State Standards 3. Parental Involvement 4. Student Achievement Statewide assessments, API, EL reclassification rate, college preparedness, etc. 5. Student Engagement Attendance rates, dropout rates, graduation rates, etc., 6. School Climate Suspension and expulsion rates, etc., 7. Access to Courses 8. Other student outcomes in subject areas
MUSD full implementation of the Common Core standards in school 204/2015. High emphasis on Quality, Currency, Availability of Textbooks, Professional Development and Instructional Materials. All classroom instructional material is state adopted and available to all students. Instructional assistance is available for those in need of help. Curriculum is grade level based for students. Due to the implementation of the Common Core, additional material are ordered to ensure that all of the standards are addressed. Common Core is a new way of teaching curriculum; therefore, I continue to ask important questions such as are we providing the necessary preparations with extra training and support for our Teachers, so they can have a positive experience in delivery the lessons to our student. I oversee the policy of transition and I'm in full confidence our Administration will and have done what is best for the students.

Currently, our board’s vision, direction and mission never fades. 1. Implementation of goals 2. Hire qualified staff 3. English Learners transition to mainstream. 1. Our implementation of our goals would be implementing based on priority need and financial cost. 2. Recruitment should be competitive with surrounding school districts, offering salary and benefits. In order to meet this goal it takes maintaining a sound budget. 3. We will continue with the English Leaner Master Plan and uses the steps and programs layout to meet goal to transition students into mainstream.
I'm neutral on Proposition 55 this being an extension of Prop. 30, and designed to be a temporary tax on individual making over $250,000.00 annually. I believe our students will be educated whether Prop. 55 is passed or not; the passion to teach is priceless. I currently service on a board to make budget decisions that will take care of our district personnel.
Technology is essential for the 21st century. Our district installed smart boards, WiFi, computer labs and lap tops for the students to have access too as needed. Our district has implemented the use of lap tops for low -income students. We can only improve on the delivery of service with our technology to our students.
As a parent and attending public schools in Mendota, Tranquillity and West Hills College I have become zealous about supporting public education. I have a proven track record, over 12 years of experience, a certificate in Masters in Governance from the California School Board Association and a unique perspective in providing leadership. Working with my colleagues, we created a Facilities Master Plan, built two schools, a vocational training center and modernization of sites with Measure M bond. We built partnerships with the City, community non-profits, West Hills College, (Westside Institute of Technology) and our business partners. Mendota Unified School District must provide the best for our children, support our dedicated teachers and staff, prepare graduates for college, careers or the US military. Regardless of our State budget allocation, I will ensure every dollar is spent wisely and appropriately to provide better choices for students and reach for higher standards. I will continue to push for excellence in academics and extra curriculum, respect, value and encourage the involvement of parents, students and the community. I will serve the Mendota Unified School District with dedication and strive for accountability and a greater future for Mendota Schools. I ask for your vote!
Age 40
Residence DFW Mendota Wildlife Area
Family My Husband and I have three boys in the district. Ages 15, 13, and 10. We have been with the district for 8 years
Education Graduated Class of 1996 Highland High Bakersfield, California. Graduated class of 1998 Gene Juarez Technical Collage Seattle, Washington
Occupation Special Education Advocate and Representative
Public service experience I've always been involved in community service as long as I can remember. I've been a state Volunteer for 11 years now with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Currently I help with Mendota's Wildlife Area and hunting program. In the District I've been on every Committee possible such as S.S.C at both McCabe and Mendota Jr. High. I was voted in as McCabe's S.S.C. President for the 2014-2015 School Year. I'm on my second year as McCabe's Restructuring Committee and L.C.F.F Representative for Mendota Jr. High. I've been blessed to have been a part of the districts interview panels for the past 3 years. In the community, I am the lunch lady at EOC summer lunch program that is held at the Library for ages 1-18. My boys and I have been involved with Food giveaways at the park and Youth center. We have also helped with Toys for Tots, the annual Easter Egg hunt and Senior Lunch In. Last year was the first year we helped out with Posadas during Christmas time. Right before School started, we also helped at the Backpack give away.
Yes! A few years ago, the state basically took away funds, lumped into LCFF, and said, ''You as a community put this money where you see fit". Our Director of State and Federal programs does an amazing job at educating all of the school site representatives. We are given all the knowledge to make the best decisions on where that funding goes. Of course I'd like to see those funds spent on other things such as our Transportation Department, Expanding our Fine Arts programs and building a new Aquatic Center. This fund is more for the basics such as classroom supplies and support for our staff. We have to focus on our 8 priorities.
I can tell you that our LCFF and Title One money is going into our classrooms specifically to give our teachers and children all the need thrive in the Common Core crossover. Our success rate varies by site. Sites like Washington have more educators with long term experience in education. These teaching veterans are used to changes and are more flexible. When you look at McCabe, we have a hard time holding onto teachers. They either leave for a better offer or not asked back. That site ends up with greener teachers. We have Academic Coaches who are veteran teachers. Their purpose is to assist our teachers in whatever they need to make this program work. Each School Site Principal observes all classrooms and sees who needs more or less support. If needed, we have what's called Shoulder to Shoulder Coaching, being that the coach is there the entire time. I am a bit disappointed that Common Core is being used as a Curriculum and not as a tool as intended. I wanted to see the fine arts incorporated with reading and math. Common Core should give the teachers more freedom to hone their own personal teaching styles. I know that I struggled last year with my 6th and 4th graders homework along with my children.
To be completely honest it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that this was in my top three challenges. I thought we were doing well in this area. 1. Our Newcomers that are our Migrant and EL students. We built Mendota Elementary because of overcrowding. Even with the new school, we are having a hard time to accommodate our Migrant population. I don't feel we have enough educators within the district with the tools to help with immersion of these students. I would be ecstatic if we had a Psychologist for each site. However, these children truly need emotional and behavioral support ASAP from someone who has experience in this area. Some of these children go to bed every night worried that their family will be taken away from them. On top of that they are dealing with P.T.S from their journey to the states. We just throw them into our educational system and expect them to learn. It is unfair to all involved. 2. Modernization of McCabe Elementary. I'm so excited to see Washington Modernized. I was very disappointed with the building of the new elementary school because we had two sites that desperately needed upgrading. Now I see why it had to be built. McCabe hopefully is next in line for Modernization. 3. Teacher retention. Plain and simple. We need to offer more to keep great educators in our district. I know teacher retention is a State wide issue not just with in the district. I feel being hands on, letting the Board know what is going on and making them aware of the issues.
I am in favor of Proposition 55. Prop 55 is basically prop 30 that was voted on in 2012. It has been extended because the timeframe for the funding is up. If we don't vote in favor of prop 55, the state could lose 4 to 9 billion in funding for our public school system and community colleges. There is only a handful of people I personally know who will be effected by this. They are still in favor of it because it effects the funding our children will lose.
Considering that our district is 98% free or reduced lunch, we basically are a "High Risk" School District. Technology is an important part of improving academic achievement. This is the one area I feel we are exceeding in our district. When I was in school as a kid, we had overheads and chalkboards. MUSD has SMART boards in every classroom. We are in the process to upgrading those SMART boards into Promethium boards. Our children have access to computer labs and laptops. Our High School kids can check out laptops at the library to take home for homework if needed. My oldest actually has one loaned to him for the Ag Wonderful program. He uses it constantly. I am very impressed by what we have available in our district. From our solar paneling to the rumor of free WIFI for those without access. I actually think we can pull back a bit and use that money elsewhere.
I am an advocate at heart. If I see a need, I see what I can do to get that fixed. I want my children and your children to have the programs I had available growing up. When we moved here 8 years ago, so much was wrong lacking with this district. I have seen massive growth since then. I am very involved and am always at every site. I have been mentored over the past 3 years by our State and Federal Program Director. Information about the district is available to everyone if you are interested. I personally would like to see more parents interested in serving on the board. I noticed we only had chickens during fair season. I went to the board 3 years ago about this. We now have 3 new Ag Teachers, a new plot ready in the back for a FFA farm and larger livestock to show at fair. We also had a need for fine arts in the district. We now have music at all elementary sites. Now for those children who are not able to attend music because they are not at reading level, we are in the process of offering music at our afterschool program. This is just a start. I wanted the pool used more. Now we have lessons, a swim club and use for summer and summer school. We are making progress. There is so much more we can work on getting for our kids. I got this all done just being a parent with a voice. At the end of the day, I am a parent just like you. I hope you see me as an extension of yourself, and choose to me serve on your School Board as your voice. Thank you for reading this.
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