Deadline for Nov. 6 election approaching
21-year trustee veteran joins Burton race
As the clock moves toward the 5 p.m. Friday deadline for anyone desiring to run for office in the Nov. 6 General Election race, several changes have been seen on local education board races — including one incumbent who has decided to run again and the return of a 21-year veteran board member.
Porterville Unified School District Incumbent Sharon Gill officially filed a declaration of candidacy Monday.
Gill said she’s humbled and grateful for the number of years she has served as an elected board member.
“But I still feel some of the hardest times are yet to happen,” Gill said and talked about the California budget crisis and possible upcoming cuts. “This is going to be a very challenging and difficult time to serve. Having had the previous experience of dealing with budget issues, and all the constituencies dealing with the Unified School district, I feel I am in a good position to make some good choices and am a good fit to operate and help accomplish things for the betterment of our children.”
Gill said she thought for a long time and prayed on whether to run again.
“The easiest thing to do is say ‘Thank you. I’ve had a wonderful time.’ But so far, nobody else has signed up to run in my area,” Gill said.
If the public will have her again, she will be happy to serve, Gill said.
“It’s always fun to hand out diplomas and scholarships at the end of the year, but not fun when you have to make difficult choices and make cuts that have to be made. It’s awful because you’re dealing with children’s lives,” Gill said. “It’s a privilege to serve. I’m always trying to be responsible and very appropriate to the needs of the majority of our children.”
Gill, who has served since 1990, joins incumbent Hayley Buettner and challenger Fred Beltran on the ballot. However, she is the sole candidate for Area 6. Buettner and Beltran are running for Area 1. Incumbent Patricia Contreras, as of Tuesday, had not filed paperwork to run again.
On the Burton School Board, a familiar name has emerged. John Burkey filed a declaration of candidacy and other paperwork for Area 5.
Burkey served on the Burton School Board for 21 years. He retired last year from Beckman Coulter and is ready to return to the Board.
“I left the board because work was becoming more demanding but I’m retired now and realize that this is a critical time for the Burton School District and feel I can contribute,” Burkey said. “Growth is still occurring and we have a lot of budget problems because of the state not providing what we need.”
Burkey also mentioned that he foresees change in leadership when current Superintendent Gary Mekeel retires in a couple of years, and he wants to be on the board to help through the transition.
Burton incumbent Rebecca Wilson, Area 2, stated she will not run for re-election. Incumbent Lisa Ruffa, Area 5, stated she was undecided, and as of Tuesday, had not filed paperwork.
Candidates are lining up for three races in Lindsay, including city council and the Lindsay school board and the Lindsay Hospital District.
Incumbent Robert Hurtado is the only candidate for Area 3 and incumbent Frank Moreno the only candidate for Area 4 in the Lindsay Unified School District race. No candidate has filed for the Area 5 short term race.
The three incumbents of the Lindsay Hospital District, Greg McQueen, Rachel L. Hill, and Roberta “Bobbie” Velasquez, are all running for re-election.
In the City Council race, all three incumbents Ed Murray, Esteban Velasquez and Pamela Kimball will be joined by Rosaena Sanchez and Steven A. Mecum on the ballot. Timothy S. Daubert and Eric Sinclair have yet to file their papers.
The deadline for filing is 5 p.m. Friday unless an incumbent does not file, then the deadline is extended for five days.
Tulare County Elections Office officials state the office, traditionally closed at noon on Fridays through the summer months, will remain open through 5 p.m. Friday to accept any last-minute filings.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.