Saddleback Valley Unified School District

Ten candidates are competing for three seats on the school board of the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5. To register, pick up a form at any post office, library or city hall. For more information, call the county registrar of voters at (714) 567-7600.

Marcia L. Birch

Age: 42.

Hometown: Laguna Hills.

Occupation: Incumbent, homemaker, community volunteer.

Background: Served on board since 1987; PTA volunteer; National Charity League member.

Priorities: Keep as many tax dollars in classroom as possible; increase educational programs for all students; increase communication between public and board members; continue work with public transportation groups to offer additional school busing options to parents.

John P. Chihorek

Age: 49.

Hometown: Mission Viejo.

Occupation: Engineering manager.

Background: Active in PTA groups; former vice chairman of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; member of Board of Governors of Engineering Management Society of the IEEE.

Priorities: Reduce costs rather than raise taxes; work more closely with teachers and parents to find creative ways to make scarce funds go further; establish better-defined academic standards; facilitate unbiased information for parents on such issues as the school voucher initiative.

Jolyon V. Druce

Age: 37.

Hometown: Trabuco Canyon.

Occupation: Truck driver, sales.

Background: Chairman of Saddleback Area Coordinating Council; member of district facilities advisory subcommittee for high school boundaries.

Priorities: Eliminate bus fee; increase communication within the district and with the public; fight for equalization of state school funds; encourage open enrollment between the Saddleback Valley and Capistrano unified school districts.

Norma E. Graves

Hometown: Mission Viejo.

Occupation: Community volunteer.

(Not available for comment at press time.)

Debbie J. Hughes

Age: 39.

Hometown: Lake Forest.

Occupation: Homemaker.

Background: State Text Book Review Board member; founder of Family Action Network of Orange County.

Priorities: Increase parent representation and encourage open public debate; build students' self-esteem through academic achievement, not special-focus classes; eliminate bus fee; oppose any new special taxes to fund the district's schools.

Gardner K. Hussey

Age: 53.

Hometown: Mission Viejo.

Occupation: Marketing manager.

Background: Vice chairman of the Mission Viejo Economic Development Commission.

Priorities: Eliminate bus fee; maintain, increase teacher pay; revise boundaries to create more neighborhood schools; fight voucher proposals.

Karen Irvine

Age: 37.

Hometown: Mission Viejo.

Occupation: Political consultant.

Background: Chairwoman of South Orange County Young Republicans; involved in Turning Point Gang Prevention Program, 1988-91.

Priorities: Restructure budget process to zero-based budget approach; increase hands-on vocational programs and get business and industry more involved in the classroom; change to open-forum policy and allow clubs on campuses in addition to those deemed "academically oriented."

Raghu P. Mathur

Age: 44.

Hometown: Laguna Hills.

Occupation: Incumbent, chemistry professor.

Background: Board member since 1984, most recently president of the board; chairman of the School of Physical Sciences and Technologies at Irvine Valley College; board member of South Region Council of United Way; board member of Orange County School Board Assn.

Priorities: Increase educational opportunities for all students; improve SAT scores; lower dropout rates; create competitive pay to retain and draw top teachers; keep administrative costs down.

Tim Stone

Age: 46.

Hometown: Trabuco Canyon.

Occupation: Software development business owner.

Background: Former psychologist for Saddleback Valley school district, 16 years; former president of Saddleback Valley Pupil Services Assn.

Priorities: Restructure budget process to zero-based approach; increase communication within district and with the public; increase partnerships with the community and businesses; retain policy allowing only "academically oriented" clubs or events on campuses.

Frank L. Ury

Age: 28.

Hometown: Mission Viejo.

Occupation: Electrical engineer.

Background: Tutors high school students in math, science and English; finance officer for homeowners association; teaches review course for the Graduate Management Admission Test. Priorities: Emphasize finance background in budget process; eliminate bus fee; eliminate medical, dental and visual benefit perks for board members; get more money into the classroom.

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