Whittier Union High School District

The major issues are a new district assessment fee and whether Whittier Union should be combined with elementary school districts that feed into the high school district. The fee is being challenged in court by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., which contends it is an illegal property tax.

Enrollment: 9,482

Areas served: all of Whittier, parts of La Mirada, Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk and unincorporated county territory

On the ballot: eight candidates for two seats

NOTE: There are no incumbents in this race.

CHALLENGERS

Richard Bries

Age: 45

Profession: owner of landscaping business

Residence: Whittier

Remarks: "The biggest issue is the Board of Trustees' raising property taxes in violation of Proposition 13 and the will of the people. The district should rescind the decision. We need citizen committees to look at how the district spends money . . . volunteer professionals to examine each segment of the income and expenses. We need to look at districts which have been successful in eliminating drug and gang problems and work to that goal." He said his qualifications include "integrity and no interest in political power or glamour."

Joe Corey

Age: 58

Profession: property manager, homeowners association

Residence: Whittier

Remarks: "The major issue is to see what one can do to live within the budget that has been allocated by the state, to see if there is any way to make further cuts or changes to live within that budget." He said his job as a property manager has taught him how to handle business budgets and live within them.

David Gonzales

Age: 38

Profession: paralegal

Residence: Whittier

Remarks: "The important thing is to help the students compete. I want to bring in retired professionals to teach the students about the way the real world is. . . . I consider myself an intellectual. I read and know a little about everything. I am not a member of the elite. I'm not sports-minded or interested in things as they always have been. I want to make changes. If the voters don't want these changes, they don't have to vote for me."

Richard Moore

Age: 50

Profession: director of purchasing, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Residence: Santa Fe Springs

Remarks: "I haven't formed a position on the assessment. I would need to look at the needs of the district versus the desire of the people. . . . We need to take a look at some options, perhaps another attempt at getting voters to accept the issuing of bonds. But the district needs to do a better public relations job to get voter support. . . . I am an experienced board member, having served on the Little Lake City School District board from 1980 to 1988."

Ralph Pacheco

Age: 36

Profession: president of a management consultant and training group, recently retired from Rio Hondo Community College board.

Residence: Whittier

Remarks: "The biggest issue is building public confidence in the community with parents, teachers and taxpayers. We need to maintain educational excellence while holding the confidence of the community. I have a vested interest because I have three children in the district, so I am genuinely concerned in the welfare of their education."

Bruce Sago

Age: 36

Profession: owner of a hazardous-waste transportation company

Residence: Whittier

Remarks: He said that the decision to approve the assessment fee "was poorly handled. It showed how not to do things. . . . I'm upset about the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. suing the district because it is taking money from general fund to defend the lawsuit. . . . I want to give teachers what they need and let them do it. I don't think we should take our best teachers and promote them out of the classroom."

Cathy Warner

Age: 48

Profession: dental hygienist, board member of East Whittier City School District

Residence: Whittier

Remarks: "I am opposed to the formation of assessment districts of any kind. Funds for schools should be generated directly from the state or voted on locally, as in the case of bonds. . . . I support unification 100%. Whenever you unify you eliminate duplication of services. Our studies have shown that there would be an additional $10 million to $15 million available that could be redirected to the district or districts." Warner said she would resign from the East Whittier board if she wins a high school district board seat.

William Wise

Age: 50

Profession: aerospace engineer

Residence: unincorporated Whittier area

Remarks: "The big issue is that the current board felt that they were judge and jury on the taxation issue. They felt they spoke for the people when the people who attended (the public hearing) spoke against it. They were elected to represent us in educating our children, and that's what they should be doing. . . . They haven't showed any common sense. I don't think that I could do worse than they have recently."

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