Two seats for school board uncontested

Of the four open school board seats within the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, only two are being contested in the Nov. 2 election.

Seats held by board President Karen Yelsey and Walt Davenport, whose seats represent Corona del Mar and the West and Southwest sides of Costa Mesa, respectively, are all but assured victories as their seats are uncontested, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters in Santa Ana.

Thirty-year-veteran Judith Franco, whose seat represents most of Newport Beach, and Michael Collier, a one-term incumbent whose seat chiefly includes the area surrounding Costa Mesa High School and Orange Coast College, will each face challengers.

The 73-year-old Franco faces Loretta A. Zimmerman, 58, who ran against her four years ago, garnering 31% of the vote in a four-way race for the Trustee Area 5 seat.

Katrina Foley, a Costa Mesa councilwoman, is facing off against Collier in Trustee Area 2.

Zimmerman, an assistant city manager for San Juan Capistrano for a decade, said she feels it's time for "new blood" and "a change," claiming Franco is "out of touch with the classroom."

"My youngest just graduated from Corona del Mar High School," Zimmerman said. "I have hands-on experience."

Franco said she's got 30 years of experience, something that's desperately needed right now during the tough economic climate.

"Times are going to be tough these next three years," Franco said. "If you're somebody new to the board, it's going to take at least three years for you to become acquainted with how everything works and understand the standards.

"It's not a matter of whether I'm ancient."

Collier, who feels he can accomplish much if elected to another term, has said he's a little puzzled as to why Foley is running for the school board, according to past interviews.

He pointed out that there is a "big difference" between being a city councilwoman and serving on a school board, although he wished Foley the best of luck.

Foley could not be reached for comment.

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