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.

Central Unified School District Area 6

Fresno Bee stories about this raceCentral Unified school board candidates look to tackle growth, improve academics

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  • Candidate picture

    Terry Cox

  • Candidate picture

    Richard Martinez Jr.

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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 60
Residence Fresno
Family Married, with three sons
Occupation Incumbent Trustee, Fresno City Council Chief of Staff
Facebook/Social media Facebook
The LCFF allows Local Agencies such as Central Unified to have a say in where dollars are invested. Central has the opportunity to fund areas that have gone underfunded for years. The work so far has made a positive difference. I look forward to the district continuing to balance the needs of all our students in the coming year.
Adjusting is very accurate. Again districts are given a prescriptive on what works best for their students from a State prospective. Central Unified values its teaching staff and strives to provide as much training as needed for our teachers to help our students succeed. I would like to see more participation at the state level for our teachers input, when new standards and methods are introduced.
1) Providing adequate facilities and teaching space for our growing district. I am optimistic that the State will pass the Facilities Bond in November which will provide us much needed state funding for new facilities such as our High School. Also utilizing the remainder of our Bond approved in 2008.

2) Maintaining a strong fiscal position, as a trustee I worked to guide Central Unified through one of the worst recessions in history. Central’s financial reserve currently exceeds reserves of pre-recessions years. This provides the district with solid credit rating and funds to leverage state and federal grants.

3) Career and vocational education, we have a responsibility as educators to ensure that each of our graduates are prepared for the future the day they graduate. I have been a very strong advocate for rigorous academic teaching to prepare for college as well as providing all of our students with Career Technical Education skills and certifications. Not everyone will go to college, however those that do should be qualified and those who don’t will be prepared to enter the workforce with trained skills.
I support Proposition 55. It would be a step back in our progress without the extension.
Yes, technology will be key in all of our student’s lives after school. Central has a 1 to 1 tablet/laptop policy. While technology can be challenging to deliver to over 15,000 students, Central has kept its commitment to provide our students with hands on technology experience. With every student receiving access to their own technology device there is no children left behind, low-income or at-risk students receive the same equipment and access to technology. In fact, Central has gone the extra and provides at home internet for students unable to afford internet.
I have lived in the trustee area I represent for 26 years. My opponent moved into the trustee area 6 weeks prior to the filing deadline. I have established strong relationships with the teachers, employees, parents, students and partners of Central Unified. They are in strong support of my performance as a trustee and wish to see me continue to represent them. I have a professional background in accounting and land use policies. Both of which school districts must make difficult decisions in. I am ready to assess the issue and act. I have strong support from elected officials at the School, City, and State level. Please visit my website to view the list. /endorsements.html
Age 48
Residence Fresno CA
Family Wife - Judee Martinez Son - Richard Martinez III Daughter - Gabriella Martinez
Education 1988 graduate of Central High School A.A. Liberal Arts - Fresno City College B.A. History - C.S.U. Fresno
Occupation Management Consultant
Public service experience U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division 3 years. Fresno County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board 3 years
Facebook/Social media www.instagram/supermex2016/
Not pleased at all due to the fact that we did not do a good job of reaching across our "entire" district and gathering all input necessary to make the best decisions for spending the money we received under the LCFF. There needs to be a much better and concerted effort to include all peoples when formulating our Local control accountability plan and how the school district is spending our community's money.

I would like to see the dollars spent in a way that eases our overcrowding in class and school size. Provide additional and supplemental instruction for our district's lower performing sub groups. El, special ed and others can achieve large gains immediately in Math and Language Arts with a targeted use of LCFF funds resulting in an overall boost to our district's performance on standardized assessments. We also need top-end academic programs that help keep many of our high achieving students from leaving our school district after elementary and middle school. For too long,our school district has lost many of our best and brightest to neighboring schools and districts. It is time that stopped!

Let's give our students and families every reason to stay here and know that we will provide their children with an education that is second to none in our region, or anywhere else.
Common Core has forced every district to rethink how they approach their preparation of students and teachers for the new standards. One good example of rethinking in our district has to do with the traditional math track. In the past a student would enter high school from middle school with pre-Algebra or Algebra and continue with Geometry, Algebra II etc... That has changed to Math I cc or enhanced and advancing up to Math 2 cc or enhanced etc. The problem in our district is that parents and community were extremely unaware of what the changes were and what their options would be going forward.

In essence there was not one cohesive approach to how we implemented Common Core in the math track. Much of that example was a byproduct of an entirely inadequate training and preparation of teachers on the new common core standards and how Central Unified would implement them. This paradigm shift in how we educate our students caught our district and leadership flat-footed and behind other districts in our common core implementation. At this point, we are still playing catch-up.

I believe that we need to take what is given us(Common Core), and formulate an approach that works for our people specifically. This district has for too long not listened to it's community and teachers when putting together their plans. That is how I would change how we transition to this new way of teaching. "Central and it's people first".
1. Unchecked and poorly planned growth- We currently don't have enough elementary schools to meet the needs of our students and teachers and we have a high school that is the size of a small city with over "4,300" students. There are teachers that don't even have classrooms, having to "rove" period to period while pushing their books and materials around in carts. This is not conducive to a great education for students or a positive working environment for teaching professionals. Class and school size reduction needs to be the order of the day going forward or we will continue to stagnate in the classroom.

2. Academic achievement- For well over a decade now we have failed to achieve significant gains in Math and Language Arts scores, AP scores and graduation rates, this is inexcusable. Disciplined and effective use of funding and taxpayer dollars will directly impact our academic achievement in a positive fashion. Fiscal mismanagement over the last decade has shortchanged our students in the classroom. It is time we pinched our pennies to benefit the students not administrative ladder climbers.

3. Leadership- I would immediately demand and expect a greater degree of commitment and excellence from our district's "leadership". Our community and school district has been used as a career ladder and money tree by bureaucrats that are not entirely invested in our people. That stops now! If you can't do the job at the highest level, look elsewhere. Our students deserve no less!
I support Proposition 55 for the simple fact that we are in dire need of funding for our district. We are the fastest growing school district in the region and loss of this funding would cripple our teachers and staff in their ability to meet the needs of students as class and school sizes continue to increase. Our growth rate is not going to slow down and will result in unchecked overcrowding that will ultimately lead to decreased pupil performance for many years to come. - Absolutely, we need Prop 55.
We live in an age of technology, and with today's Smarter Balanced assessments and technology standards, it's most certainly a criteria that school districts need to focus on. However, in order to implement and manage properly, adequate research, input from teachers, staff and community members, must be a priority, as Central Unified learned the hard way with the nearly 6 million dollar waste of community money on ASUS tablets.

I hope we are on the right track with the recent purchase of chromebooks, thanks to the work of the Professional Consultation Committee that was formed after the epic failure of the ASUS tablets and 2 million dollar Learning Management System. Although the district is still calling the new technology implementation 1:1, tablets aren't going home as initially promised, instead we need to make sure that students without readily accessible devices or technology at home are taken into account. If we don't, we will fail at bridging the achievement gap with these students and our district and community will suffer for it.
"Ich Dien", I serve. As a veteran and former infantryman in the U.S. Army's 1st Division Europe, I I have committed my entire adult life in service to country and community and have set this as my next mission objective: Central Unified School District #1 NOW!!! Point of fact, I am the only candidate with the conviction and seriousness to make that statement. I will hit the ground at a full sprint to get things done immediately as I have no desire to sit as a comfortable politician making excuses for things not getting done. I will not sit for more than 1-2 terms as I believe that is more than enough time to make things happen. I am also the only candidate in Central Unified with actual "classroom" experience having taught at the high school level in U.S., AP European History and Academic Decathlon. My wife Judee is a 25 year Central Unified Teacher and former CLMS Teacher of the Year Nominee. - COMMITMENT My son Richard is an infantryman in the United States Army's 82nd Airborne Division, an Iraq veteran and a former National Champion in both Academic Decathlon and Greco-Roman wrestling. - COMMITMENT My daughter Gabbi is currently a sophomore at Central High with a 4.0, and 3 Varsity letters in Cross Country, Swimming and Track her Freshman year. -COMMITMENT ENLIST with my family, friends and community as we COMMIT to building the #1 school district in Central California!!!!