Five candidates are running for three spots in the Weaver Union School District board elections.
They are: Derrick Dean, Robert Freitas, Harry Hose, Carolyn McCrary and Renee Nelson.
Freitas, Hose and Nelson have been endorsed by the Merced/Mariposa Teacher’s Association.
More on all of the candidates:
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Dean, 39, is an incumbent candidate that has served on the board for eight years.
He is running for re-election because he has an eighth grade daughter in the school district and a younger girl that will enter school soon.
A principal in Merced County, he thinks his experience at the helm of the school is valuable to the board.
“I know the school system,” he said. “Working in a school, I know a lot of things about budgeting and how things should run.”
Financial concerns will dominate the board’s agendas over the next four-year term, he said.
“We’ve got good financial stability. We’ve always put students first,” he said. Still, the board will have to work at “maintaining a solid education program with limited amounts of money.”
Freitas is a retired peace officer and Merced resident. He filed paperwork to run for election on Aug. 7.
Calls to the phone number listed with the Merced County Office of Elections were not returned.
Hose, 55, is running for school board for the first time.
The father of five, he is running to have a hand in his children’s’ education.
“I think there are some things that could be changed that will help our children and our teachers,” he said. “I think we need to get back to more arts, more woodworking and the things we don’t teach as much anymore. I think it’s important that children be well rounded.”
Hose works as an agricultural manager at a ranch in Snelling. He has lived in Merced for 19 years.
“I’ve been a volunteer in the community for many years. I’ve done fundraisers for many organizations,” he said.
The biggest issue new board members will confront are the fallout from funding cuts, like larger class sizes and fewer electives, he said.
“The children are our future. Education is one of the most important things that Merced County kids need,” he said.
McCrary, 47, is running for reelection after one four year term on the board.
She has two children, one at Golden Valley High School and the other at Merced College.
McCrary wants to remain on the school board because of her ties with the district.
“I went through Weaver myself and having put both of my daughters through the school, I have my roots here,” she said. “I still have many friends with children in the district, my coworkers have children in the d. It is very important to me to keep up with the daily transactions within the district.
McCrary works as a fiscal analyst with the Merced County Office of Education, one of her chief qualifications for the job, she said.
“That’s one of the aspects I feel I bring to the board, she said. “The fiscal responsibility to not overspend or not over budget.”
If reelected, McCrary said he would work to maintain current programs in the schools.
“We have not cut the band program or drama,” she said. “Those are great programs in which children can express themselves outside of the classroom. I know other districts have had to cut those areas, so we are really proud that we have not had to make cuts there.”
Nelson, a mother of three, is running for a spot on the board because she feels it is a duty.
“The reason I decided to run for Weaver is because I think parents should be involved and I think all the kids should have the best chance at success,” she said. “I decided to volunteer my time and do what I could to help out the district.”
A homemaker and Merced resident, Nelson has been married for 26 years. One of her kids is still in the Weaver district, while the other two have moved on to Golden Valley High School and Southern Oregon University.
If elected, Nelson wants to shake things up a bit.
“I think the district is a great district, but like all districts, could use some fresh ideas and some fresh perspective to make them even better,” she said.
Reporter Danielle E. Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.