Numerous education seats in November race
Porterville Unified School District Board President Hayley Buettner, and a PUSD Board of Trustee challenger, Fred Beltran, did not waste any time in getting paperwork submitted with the Tulare County Elections Office. Both filed within a day of open nominations, seeking two of three seats that are up for reelection on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.
In all, eight seats are available on the area’s three largest school districts — Burton, Lindsay Unified and Porterville Unified — but only Buettner and Beltran have filed a declaration of candidacy with the Tulare County Elections Office.
The last day to submit paperwork with the county elections office is Aug. 10, or Aug. 15 if an extension applies, with candidate statements, if submitted, costing the candidates $450 for the Lindsay Unified School District, $560 for Burton, and $2,090 for Porterville Unified.
On the Burton School Board, seats currently held by Lisa Ruffa, Area 5, and Rebecca Wilson, Area 2, are up for reelection but neither incumbent has filed paperwork, with Wilson stating she won’t be filing.
“I have really enjoyed serving the Burton district this past year. It has been a wonderful experience,” Wilson said. “Unfortunately, I will not run again. I am in the process of writing a thesis and I am very busy finishing my last quarter of grad school.”
At Lindsay Unified, neither incumbent Mercedes Herrera, nor Frank Moreno, have filed any paperwork with the county elections office.
At PUSD, Board President Hayley Buettner and challenger Fred Beltran, a retired engineering assistant, filed their Declarations of Candidacy and the Code of Fair Campaign Practices on Monday. In addition, Buettner also filed a candidate statement.
“I’m running for a couple of reasons,” Buettner said Tuesday afternoon. “First, I am the only board member who has children in the Porterville Unified School District. Because of this, I feel I can offer a perspective others can’t.”
Buettner also expressed excitement with some of the projects and programs the district has been working on.
“I would like to continue to be a part of these,” she said. “We have the Pathways program, a new military school, and the expansion of our Dual Immersion Program. I’ve been involved in some great work and I’m excited to be able to continue on the board.”
Beltran, a retired engineering assistant, has always been community oriented and volunteers with numerous organizations, including Salvation Army, Porterville Area Coordinating Council, Comision Honorifica Mexicana Americana, Toys for Tots and other groups.
“All my children went through the Porterville Unified School District. I was always volunteering and was very involved at Olive Street School and at Bartlett Middle School,” said Beltran, who has lived in the Porterville/Terra Bella area close to 50 years. “Now I have a lot of grand kids and family coming through the school system. I’d like to make a difference. I’ve always wanted to be involved in one facet or another, either in the community or in the school district. I retired two years ago and now I have more time.”
Beltran has been faithfully attending all PUSD board meetings.
“I’m making a point to go to all the meetings. I want to get up to speed on everything that is going on,” he said.
Incumbent Pat Garcia Contreras said she is undecided and will consider her personal situation when making the decision.
“I have enjoyed being on the board and I am proud to represent the community,” Garcia said. “If I do decide to run, I will continue to be concerned about the students and schools that are under performing. I would also like to follow Pathways into the elementary level.”
Education seats at a glance:
° Burton School District — Two seats, currently occupied by Incumbents Lisa Ruffa, Area 5, and Rebecca Wilson, Area 2.
° Lindsay School District — Three seats, currently occupied by Mercedes Herrera, Area 3, and Frank Moreno, Area 4, incumbents; and Robert Hurtado, Area 5, appointed incumbent.
° Porterville Unified School District — Seats currently occupied by Incumbents Hayley Buettner, Area 1, Patricia Contreras, Area 2, and Sharon Gill, Area 6.
° Alta Vista — Three seats, currently held by Maria Perez, Hellena Miley and a vacant seat.
° Ducor Union — Two seats, currently held by Vicki Theye and Patricia Hughes
° Pleasant View — Three seats, currently held by Thomas Barcellos, William Jameson, and a vacant seat.
° Richgrove — Two seats, held by Hipolito Paul Cervantes and Josephina Valencia.
° Rockford — One seat, held by Edward Flory.
° Saucelito — One seat, held by Stan Noble.
° Springville Union — Two seats, held by Chris Ferrell and Dianne Shew.
° Strathmore Union — Two seats, held by Tracy Tuckner and Adele Sanchez.
° Sunnyside Union — Three seats, held by Rodolfo Ruiz, Humberto Cardenas and Bethany Ina Unruh.
° Terra Bella Union — Three seats, held by Mariana Lopez, Yolanda Bocanegra, Anthony Giannetto.
° Woodville Elementary — Four seats, held by Fabiola Guerrera, Miguel Guillen and Amanda Medina, board members; and Maria Elena Lopez, short term appointed incumbent.