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Rocklin has only contested school board race

Five running for three seats
By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Rocklin voters will cast ballots in the only contested school board race in South Placer County come November, with five candidates running for three seats on the panel.

Rocklin Unified School District board of trustees

The candidates for the Rocklin Unified School District board of trustees are: Susan Halldin, a current member of the board; Mark Klang, a member of the board from 2000-2004; Dereck Counter; Rick Miller and Tami Seigel.

Incumbent Susan Halldin said she is running for re-election because she believes there is room for improvement in the schools and wants to “help every child reach their full potential.”

“As a board member, student safety is my first priority and I’m pleased that we have taken steps to make our schools safer for our children,” Halldin said. “I will continue to encourage innovative collaborations with the Rocklin Police Department to identify and address any threats to our schools.”

“In the short term, I am most concerned today about finding a resolution to the impasse the school district has with our teachers in our contract negotiations,” Halldin added. “As a parent of two children, whose entire K-12 educations have been Rocklin schools, I know and appreciate the value of our teachers. I am hopeful we can find a mutually agreeable resolution within the limited funds that the state provides for the district.”

Mark Klang, a member of the Rocklin Unified School District board of trustees from 2000-2004, said he is running because he wants to make schools safer.

“My biggest concern is the safety of the kids on all of the campuses,” Klang said. “I’ve spoken with many students at the high school level, and many teachers, and they’ve told me the district has not done enough to train them for an active shooter situation.”

“More than 70 percent of Rocklin High School students surveyed said it is not a matter of if but when something like that occurs,” Klang added. “Virtually nothing has been discussed; I’m very concerned we aren’t prepared.”

Klang said the other issue of concern to him is the state of relations between the teachers and the district.

“I believe something is going on with the finances if the district cannot afford 2.5 percent,” Klang said. “For a growing district, 2.5 percent is nothing.”

Dereck Counter said he is running for Rocklin school board because “during my extensive volunteering across multiple youth organizations I have seen many opportunities for improvement.”

“I am passionate about the students, teachers and parents in Rocklin Unified and it’s painful to see the conflicts between parents, teachers and administration,” Counter said. “I have a background in analysis, problem solving and process improvement and feel these skills would be an asset to our school board.”

Counter said he is “particularly concerned with is the contract negotiations between teachers and the district.”

“My primary goal will always be what is best for the students in our district,” Counter said. “My goal is to improve communications so that when any issues arise respectful resolutions are always met. I feel that this goal could be achieved by providing opportunities where all parties (teachers, parents and administration) can be at the same table solving problems.”

“Rocklin is home to students with a large variety of educational needs; whether it be students enrolled in special education, families that prefer the experience that charter schools provide or those that thrive in a more traditional school,” Counter added. “Our responsibility as a school board is to provide an environment so that every student feels respected, safe and encouraged to develop lifelong learning skills. Teachers are at the forefront of this process and need to be supported.”

Rick Miller said he is running because “I have spent almost my entire career in public education and I care deeply about the continued success of Rocklin’s schools and feel I can best give back to our community through service on the board.”

“I’m a proud father of sons who attend Rocklin Unified and have been a volunteer in our community for over a decade,” Miller added. “I'm particular concerned about the relationship between our teachers and administration right now. Many Rocklin teachers do not feel valued and respected and I will make it a priority to address this.  I will also prioritize safety, fiscal discipline and personalized student learning and pathways.”

Tami Seigal said she is running because “it feels like teachers and parents want someone of the board who represents their needs.”

“The feeling now is that some of the board members are siding with the superintendent and not offering the teachers a fair contract,” Seigel said. “I’m definitely in support of the teachers and endorsed by their union.”

Seigel, who has two children at Cobblestone Elementary School, added that she is focused on school safety as her number one priority.

“I’m the site council president and we had to approve the site safety plan,” Seigel said. “When we held the meeting with the police department and fire department I learned the fire fighter had a hard time finding the classroom because the map the fire department had did not match up with the numbers on the buildings of the school. I would not sign off on the plan until that problem was fixed.”

School board President Todd Lowell decided four terms were enough and chose not to run for re-election.

“I’ve always regarded my school board service as community service,” Lowell said. “My children were in Rocklin Unified schools for 15 years, so I’ve paid that time back.”

Board member Wendy Lang is also not running for re-election.

Roseville Joint Union High School District

Candidates running for the two seats on the Roseville Joint Union High School District board are trustees Scott Huber and Andrew Tagg.

Roseville City School District board of education

Three candidates are running for three seats on the Roseville City School District board of education: board member Alisa Fong, Rob Baquera and Valerie Gross.

Board members Hallie Romero and Susan Duane are not running for re-election.

Loomis

Loomis Union School District

Three trustees will return to the Loomis Union School District board: Jacob Hardey, Todd Wilson and Ann Baker.