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CUSD Trustee Jim Kinard taken on by Brian de la Porte
Opponents CUSD
Ceres Unified School District trustee Jim Kinard (left) has competition for his re-election. Brian de la Porte is running against Kinard in Trustee Area #1.

Jim Kinard, one of seven trustees serving on the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees, has never been opposed for office. The candidacy of Brian de la Porte just changed all that.

“I think it’s a good thing – it’s democracy in action,” said Kinard, a retired teacher, who was first elected to the Ceres School Board in 2007 and re-elected in 2011 and 2015 in uncontested races. “Good competition is a good thing.”

Last week the Ceres resident, Delhi teacher and son of former Ceres High School teacher and Coach Phil de la Porte threw his hat into the ring in a bid to replace Kinard in Trustee Area 1. Kinard is currently as serving as board president.

Two other seats on the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees are up for grabs on Nov. 5 with no competition. Faye Lane is unopposed for the Trustee Area 4 seat. Hugo Molina is guaranteed the Trustee Area 7 seat occupied by Teresa Guerrero who decided against running again.

Kinard, 74, said he’s ordering signs and door hangers and plans to go door-to-door now that he has an opponent.

“I’m hoping not to go over the $2,000 limit,” said Kinard. “That’s one nice thing about us going into districts. I don’t think there has to be a high expense.”

Kinard believes the Ceres School Board is doing an excellent job and has done well to improve relations between the labor associations.

“We’re in a good place and I’m really proud of that happening. I’m really proud that we were able to pass Measure U and we built a new junior high and since Measure U we put in three new schools to house our kids.”

Kinard recalled how teachers and administration came together to take pay cuts during the recession to stave off teacher layoffs or decrease programs. He said the Ceres district offers a quality education to Ceres students.

De la Porte said he’s been thinking about a run for years.

“I’m 38 years old. I’m to that point in my life to where I’m really trying to give back to the community,” said de la Porte. He explained that he has no qualms with Kinard’s leadership on the board, calling him a “solid guy.” But he did say he believes he can bring a “different energy” to the board and “be an independent thinker.”

De la Porte was raised in Ceres and attended Carroll Fowler Elementary and Mae Hensley Junior High and graduated from Ceres High in 1999. His mother, the late Cassandra “Sandy” de la Porte and dad Phil were Ceres educators. Brian is a P.E. teacher at Delhi High School in Merced County. He also coaches varsity boys basketball for Ceres High School.

“I think through my experiences in education I can help lead and support CUSD policies and have a positive impact on every learner and educator in this district,” said de la Porte.

Kinard was raised in Stockton and graduated from high school in 1963 and joined the Air Force. He got out in 1967 and became a teacher after graduating from CSU Sacramento. He taught in Stockton briefly and worked at Westport School for over 25 years.

Molina stepped down from the Ceres Planning Commission in December 2017. He ran unsuccessfully for Ceres City Council in three-person races in 2011 and 2013. Molina obtained a California state insurance license in 2008. He previously served as a customer service supervisor for Northwest Airlines in San Francisco, was the senior credit manager for CitiFinancial in Modesto and was customer service manager for Auto America Insurance in Los Banos.

He is married with two children.

Faye Lane is a longtime Ceres resident who spent 32 years working as a classified employee with the Ceres Unified School District until she retired in 1997. In 2007, she was elected to serve as a member the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees. In 2014 she was honored as a “Woman of the Year” by 21st District. Assemblyman Adam Gray at the Capitol.

Lane’s family includes sons, Ken and Stan. She is the grandmother of five and great grandmother of one.

Guerrero was first elected to the board in 2005 and was defeated for re-election in 2009. Stunned at her loss, she waited another four years and was elected again in 2011. Guerrero was re-elected in 2015.

The seats are set up for one time as five years to comply with a state law that is forcing small cities and school districts to time their elections in either a gubernatorial or presidential election.

Other CUSD trustees whose seats are not up for election this year are Lourdes Perez, Betty Davis, Mike Welsh and Valli Wigt.

Hughson Fire Protection District voters will also be casting votes this November. Three seats are open but the candidate nomination period has drawn only two candidates – incumbents Anthony Douds and David S. Absher. The nomination period was extended until today because a third candidacy hasn’t been filed.

In the Keyes Community Services District, two full-term seats have drawn three candidates in incumbents Davie Landers and Mike Bernal and Cody Knee, who is a water distribution operator. The short-term on the board has but one candidate, appointed incumbent Johnathon Parker.