Voters opted Tuesday for two changes at San Benito High School
by electing two new members to the school district’s board of
trustees and staying with a long-time member.
Voters opted Tuesday for two changes at San Benito High School by electing two new members to the school district’s board of trustees and staying with a long-time member.
Bill Tiffany led all school Board candidates with 5,184 votes, or 24.6 percent. Incumbent Judy Rider, who is a 12-year Trustee, was second with 3,673 votes, or 17.4 percent, and the final seat went to newcomer Jan Joseph, who gathered 3,448 votes, or 16.3 percent of the vote.
Stefani Fowler narrowly missed a board seat with 3,289 votes, or 15.6 percent of the total, which was 159 fewer votes than Joseph.
Incumbent and board president Kenneth Kovanda received 2,890 votes, or 13.7 percent, while incumbent Sylvia Sims De Lay received 2,576 votes or 12.2 percent.
“I’m gratified that people are willing to support my campaign and I hope that I can make a positive difference on that school board,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany, a Hollister attorney, has served for 12 years on the Southside School District Board. His campaign focused on better communication between the SBHSD board, teachers and parents. He said he also wanted to make some changes in San Benito High School’s zero tolerance disciplinary policies.
Earlier this year, when Tiffany did some legal consultation with a Hollister family whose daughter was affected by the zero tolerance policies, he thought about running for the school board to help make some changes.
“I continue to feel that the disciplinary policies should be reviewed,” Tiffany said. “I think the board should implement policies that will involve parents and teachers more in the decision-making process.”
Rider, who said serving on the board is a thankless job, will do so for a fourth term.
“I’m very happy. I just want to thank the voters for their support and do the best job I can,” Rider said. “There’s a lot of people that know what I’ve done and hopefully I can make these people happy and change some of the teachers’ minds.”
Rider was not endorsed by the San Benito High School Teachers Union, members of which have been critical of the school board, citing a lack of communication with teachers.
Joseph, owner and administrator of Cherry Blossom Residential Care Facility, said he wants to rebuild the distrust that he says has broken down communication between SBHS teachers and the board.
“I look forward to working with the community, board members, teachers, administration and community to improve the high school, and I also want to thank the people who supported me and organizations who endorsed me,” Joseph said.
Joseph said he would like to increase the quality of education at SBHS by supporting college preparation courses, and lower the turnover rate of teachers.
He said he also wants to reevaluate the school’s zero tolerance policies and create a consistent discipline approach.