Five candidates, including one incumbent, are running for two board seats Nov. 5. Retired teacher Dorothie Sterling is stepping down from the board after serving two terms. Finding money for the reduction of class sizes at the district's 17 schools has emerged as a priority at the county's largest elementary school district, which is operating at capacity.
Occupation: Physical therapist
Education: Bachelor's degree in health science from Cal State Northridge
Background: A sitting board member, Alvarez has been active with the PTA since 1986 as a career day presenter and mentor to high school and college students. The Oxnard native is married and has two daughters who have attended district schools.
Issues: Alvarez believes the district's main challenge is to reduce class size, a difficult task when schools are already used year-round. She advocates preparing for a bond measure during the next four years to build two more schools. She downplays board divisiveness, saying that ethnicity should not play a role in board decisions. She favors introducing school uniforms in an effort to improve campus safety and discipline.
Occupation: Computer network security analyst
Education: Associate's degree from Los Angeles Valley Junior College; attended Ventura College of Law
Background: A 25-year county resident, Batey has lived in Oxnard for 10 years. His volunteer activities in the school district include providing technology training to teachers and assisting in wiring schools to the Internet. He is a member of the PTA and the board's Parent Advisory Council and Technology Committee. He is married and has two children in district schools.
Issues: He believes class size needs to be reduced, but is concerned that student safety is compromised by the district placing up to 60 students and three teachers in a single classroom in an effort to achieve that goal. He supports district initiatives to improve students' access to technology.
Occupation: Retired elementary school teacher
Education: Bachelor's degree in elementary education from Mankato State College in Minnesota; master's in elementary curriculum development from Chapman College
Background: A Korean War veteran, Caffrey is a 32-year Oxnard resident whose two grown children attended district schools. Caffrey retired from teaching in Hollywood Beach 1 1/2 years ago and has been a youth basketball coach since 1962.
Issues: Caffrey believes the district should endeavor to achieve smaller class sizes, despite schools being at capacity. He supports standardized assessment tests, rather than performance-based testing that he believes is subject to inaccuracies and produces results that do not always provide a basis for comparison with other districts.
Occupation: Executive director of El Concilio del Condado de Ventura
Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from San Jose State
Background: Raised in Oxnard, Dominguez is chairman of the municipal Finance Authority and a board member with the American Cancer Society, Central Ventura County Unit. He is married and has two young sons, one a first-grader at a district school.
Issues: Dominguez supports using portable classrooms to achieve class size reductions, but opposes placing two teachers in a classroom with 40 children as the district does now at some schools, saying that tactic does nothing to reduce overcrowding. He believes the district bureaucracy must make a greater and more timely effort to involve parents in their children's education.
Jerry L. Turner
Occupation: Real estate broker
Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from Cal State Dominguez Hills
Background: A 15-year Oxnard resident, Turner, who is married, is past president of the PTA at Sierra Linda Elementary School, which his four children attend. He is chairman of the board of trustees for Calvary Baptist Church and is active in youth soccer and baseball leagues.
Issues: Turner supports decreasing class size, yet believes the value of year-round education in the district should be evaluated. He advocates a back-to-basics curriculum approach to ensure all children are capable of reading at their grade level. Turner proposes offering merit pay for teachers, rather than tenure.