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South Whittier School District

The issues include crosswalk safety and whether the tiny district should merge with other Whittier-area districts in a unified system. Crosswalk safety became an issue after a vehicle struck and killed a girl last year and a crossing guard died nearby in a similar incident.

Enrollment: 3,687

Areas served: unincorporated area south of Whittier and the eastern portion of Santa Fe Springs

On the ballot: four candidates for two seats

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INCUMBENTS

Sharon Stys

Appointed to the board January, 1990

Age: 42

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Profession: computer consultant for small businesses

Residence: unincorporated south Whittier

Remarks: “I believe our district is facing the same thing all other school districts are, the financial tightening of the belt due to the governor’s budget. . . . Traffic and safety for the students is a big issue right now. We need street lights and other traffic signals in front of schools that we haven’t been able to get” from the county. She said her business and accounting background allows her to analyze school budgets. In addition, “I am able to lend a helping hand in computerizing district business affairs and student programs. A lot of people feel you don’t need to spend money on technology. I disagree. You can gather data that allows people to be more accountable . . . then decisions can be made more quickly.”

Jesse Aguirre

Board member since 1983

Age: 73

Profession: stockbroker

Residence: unincorporated south Whittier

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Remarks: “Because of my accounting experience and business background I have been instrumental in saving the school district money. The biggest issue in this election is the continuation of a basic curriculum versus a technological approach. Technology emphasizes high scores and basic curriculum emphasizes reading, writing and arithmetic. Many people would like to see a more technological approach to education, but I like to see more emphasis on the basics. My experience and background make me qualified to determine that these approaches are the best for the children.”

CHALLENGERS

Richard T. Minjares

Age: 42

Profession: credit clerk for a department store

Residence: unincorporated south Whittier

Remarks: “The biggest issues in this election are gang violence and improving education for our kids. This is my main reason for wanting to run. I want the best teachers and best education for all of the kids, as well as my own . . . I have an 8-year-old, and I am concerned with improving the recreation around the area that would help keep kids off of the street. I live in this area; it’s going downhill and I don’t want it to go farther down. I want to bring it back up. I can contribute to the well-being of our kids and our community.”

Teresa Halstead

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Age: 42

Profession: homemaker and community volunteer

Residence: unincorporated south Whittier

Remarks: “Our crosswalks are not safe. And we have a gang problem, whether we want to admit it or not.” To save money, “I’m not against cutting busing for a certain amount of children, but a lot of things need to be checked out, like the safety of children walking to and from school. It’s not the world we used to live in anymore. I would like to see an after-school program to help children with homework or if they are falling behind.” She said she has an open mind about unification. “My child attends one of the schools. I am running to have a say-so in what’s going on rather than just complaining.”


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