Brian de la Porte trounced incumbent Ceres Unified School District board trustee Jim Kinard in Tuesday’s general election.
Only those in Trustee Area 1 in Ceres could vote in the district election. De la Porte collected 376 votes, or 65.96 percent, to Kinard’s 194 votes, or 34,94 percent.
De la Porte, 38, credits his weeks of campaigning door-to-door and thousands in political mailers and signs as recipe for his success.
“I’ve been campaigning and knocking on door a good six, seven weeks where every Saturday for five or six hours, a couple of Sundays and two to three days a week,” said de la Porte. “My goal was to get in front of every voter. If I didn’t know them I’d introduce myself and tell them who I was about.”
De la Porte said he didn’t use social media but relied on “old fashioned way” like yard signs, door-to-door visits, flyers, and literature left on the door step. He estimates spending $4,500 to $5,000 on campaign materials.
“We’ve had a really good healthy campaign between the two of us. That was really nice knowing it wasn’t negative.”
Kinard, 74, was elected to the Ceres School Board in 2007 and re-elected in 2011 and 2015 in uncontested races.
De la Porte will be serving in a one-time five-year seat as the district realigns terms so that elections will be held during gubernatorial or presidential elections. The action is being taken because of a change in state law designed to increase voter turnout.
Trustee Area 4 incumbent Faye Lane will also serve in a five-year term. She was unopposed for re-election and was appointed in lieu of an election. Hugo Molina also was unopposed for the Trustee Area 7 seat being vacated by Teresa Guerrero who decided against running again.
De la Porte said his first goal is to “look, listen and learn” when he joins the six other trustees.
“There’s this learning curve that I’m going to have to build relationships with other School Board members and people in the district. I’m going to be brand new and I’m going trying to really learn however long it takes to really learn that side of education and how it works. Do I have any major priorities? No other than just learn for the next six months.”
He said being a teacher in the Delhi School District in Merced County gives him a perspective on students and teachers.
“I deal with students every single day and students are so different than they were five, 10, 15 years ago and I think having that perspective is going to be a positive for the School Board.”
He said that in Delhi he often deals with a lack of parental support with their children’s education. He said with CUSD does a good job to improve parental involvement but hopes to find ways to improve involvement “because all the research says that when parents are involved kids are highly more successful.”
In the very close Keyes Community Services District race, Davie Landers and Cody Knee won seats on the board of directors, just barely edging out incumbent Mike Bernal.
Landers collected 99 votes, or 34.62 percent. Knee won office with 96 votes, or 33.57 percent. Bernal lost his seat with a third-place finish of 91 votes, or 31.82 percent.
The purpose of the KCSD Board is to oversee and make decisions regarding the town’s water distribution, wastewater collection and streetlight services, providing residents with the most cost-effective, efficient and eco-friendly options possible.
The district provides water services to its customers through the use of four wells and pumps all of its water from the underground aquifer. The district meters all of the water it delivers and provides water to residential, commercial, industrial and governmental entities. Through its partnership with the city of Turlock, KCSD also provides wastewater collection and treatment services to more than 5,000 people.