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CUSD board stays same

POSTED August 21, 2013 10:43 a.m.
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There will be no changes to the Ceres School Board.

Incumbents Mike Welsh, Betty Davis, Valli Wigt and Lourdes Perez all filed for re-election and no challengers emerged.

"To have almost a whole board run unopposed is pretty rare," Welsh said. "It tells me we're doing a good job and people are happy with what we're doing. It makes me feel good. We'll keep making good decisions. I encourage everyone to do some public service. No one should run for office if they have an agenda. They should run if they care about kids. That's the number one thing."

Welsh got appointed to the Ceres School Board in 2004.

He was elected in 2005 and 2009.

Mike will run unopposed for the second time.

"Everybody expects to have competition," said Welsh, a District 2 seat holder. "That's healthy. That's the democratic process. I was looking forward to the challenge. I'm actually very surprised we don't have any opponents. But hard work pays off."

Davis is a former Ceres Unified teacher and librarian who spent 26-plus years in education. She has lived in Ceres for more than 40 years. She has served on the CUSD board since 2005.

Wigt is a retired teacher who was elected to the CUSD board in 2009.

Perez is running for the District 5 seat, which she was elected to in 2009. She is program coordinator of Ceres Partnership For Healthy Children.

"I'm pretty happy with the way things are," said Welsh. "We don't always agree with each other but we make good decisions. We're a team. The board as a whole is very diverse."

Welsh said it would have been tough for incumbents to be unseated during the November election had there been challengers.

Ceres Unified reduced its employees' salaries by 8.5 percent in 2010-11 to offset a $5.5 million budget gap.

Administrators, from director-level positions to the superintendent, also agreed to comparable salary reductions.

Board trustees reduced their monthly stipends as well.

The joint sacrifice prevented layoffs and cuts to student programs.

"That wasn't an easy thing to do," Welsh said. "It was hard on everybody. But we made the right decision to accomplish our mission. We restored all of our employees' salaries back to whole. I didn't think that would happen this soon-in less than three years. But we made a promise to our employees. That's probably a big reason we don't have any opponents. Our district is doing quite well if you look at the facts. Our kids are getting a very good education. We have some of the highest scores around. We hire great people and they're doing a great job. I don't think it's better anywhere else."

Welsh graduated from Ceres High in 1969.
All three of his children completed their education in Ceres, including Morgan, Nick and Adam.

"I was born here in 1951," Mike said. "There were less than 3,000 people here. I have a pretty good memory of how things were. The district has come a long ways. After my youngest son graduated from high school this year, I thought about it (not running for re-election). But I'm not done yet. There are some things I want to finish doing."

Teresa Guerrero, Faye Lane and Jim Kinard will be up for re-election in 2015, which means the Ceres School Board will remain the same for another two years.

"It speaks to the job the board has done as a whole," CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel said. "The board has done a great job managing the district."

 

 

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