Incumbent proud of county school board’s work
The Union takes a look at the three candidates vying for the one open seat on the Nevada County Board of Education in today’s edition.
All election stories that have run since Sept. 25 and that appear in today’s paper can be reviewed on our Web site, http://www.theunion.com.
A video producer and a retired teacher hope to unseat Nevada County Board of Education incumbent Jack Meeks in the November general election.
The board of education approves the county Superintendent of Schools Office’s budget. The board is also the appellate board for schools and hears appeals on interdistrict transfers and expulsions.
Board members receive a $160 monthly stipend from July through December and a $168 monthly stipend from January through June. They are not eligible for medical or other benefits.
Meeks, 77, a retired high school science teacher from inner-city Los Angeles, said he wants to return to his seat “because we’re doing such a good job and have a balanced budget.”
“We haven’t had problems other people have had because we look for grants,” said Meeks, who has served eight years on the board and lived in Penn Valley for 13 years.
Meeks said he’s proud the county Superintendent of Schools’ Office manages about two dozen John Muir Charter Schools that serve the California Conservation Corps around the state. The charter schools help CCC kids earn high school diplomas.
The previous contractor, a management company in Placerville, took more money for administration, Meeks said. The Superintendent of Schools’ Office charges 9 percent – substantially less – for all administrative services, said Gail Headstrom, director of business services in the superintendent’s office.
“It was difficult to tell what the previous manager was charging,” Headstrom said.
“We could do it more efficiently,” Meeks said.
His statement of qualifications appears in the sample ballot booklet that was mailed to registered voters Monday. Meeks paid $835 to publish a statement in the booklet, the only candidate for the county board of education to do so.
Georgie Coulter, 73, taught English and special education in middle and high school for 35 years before she retired.
Because the 30-year Nevada County resident recently moved to Grass Valley from Cedar Ridge, she had to resign from the Union Hill School District Board of Trustees.
“I really hated to leave that board because I liked working with all those people,” Coulter said about Union Hill and Highland Oaks teachers, parents, principals and administrators.
Coulter said she would like to see closer communication and ties between the county’s 10 school districts and the county board of education when it comes to state budgets, mandates and grants. She would like district representatives and board members to meet frequently “as to how schools could help one another.”
“I would like to see the county board actually be more involved in the day-to-day problems or goals of the different schools,” Coulter said. “What do schools need and what can the county board do to get them what they need?”
She particularly supports programs started by county Superintendent of Schools Terry McAteer, such as the Student Attendance Review Board, the Imaginarium and the 3R School for middle school students not in regular schools.
Coulter holds two lifetime teaching credentials: a general secondary teaching credential and a junior high teaching credential, according to the Superintendent of Schools Office, and a master’s degree in English from the University of Oregon. Coulter also said she has an administrative credential.
Coulter volunteers at the Grass Valley Senior Center, Volunteers of America and the Mount St. Mary’s thrift store.
Joseph “Buck” Stoval, 53, a Sierra College student, Grass Valley filmmaker and 20-year resident of Nevada County, wants the post on the low-profile board because “it’s an important job.”
‘Well, the (current trustees) are into their 70s and pretty much out of touch with kids and how they think,” Stoval said. He has two sons,19 and 21, both of whom are artists.
Stoval said he’s concerned about the effect of economic downturns on teachers and on art education.
“Teachers always take a big hit in an economic downturn,” Stovall said. “They’re always at the bottom of the list when pay raises come around.”
“Children don’t get enough drama in life,” he said. “That’s why they go out and create it on the streets.”
Stoval said he has “always been an artist, and I think that it’s an important aspect of education.”
He said he wants to be on the board to “make sure kids are not deprived of an artistic education if the economy goes down.”
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