Teachers union backs Franco, Foley

COSTA MESA — The Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers has endorsed 30-year incumbent Judy Franco and Councilwoman Katrina Foley for school board.

Members of the union are also campaigning on behalf of the two candidates in advance of Tuesday's election.

Franco is running against Loretta Zimmerman for Trustee Area 5. Michael Collier, an incumbent with four years on the board, is facing off against Foley for Trustee Area 2.

Kimberly Claytor, president of the union, said the 1,200-teacher federation decided to back Franco and Foley in about August, but recently had been getting the word out on the campaign trail.

Collier, in an interview on Tuesday, said he was disappointed that the teacher's union didn't back him, seeing that he was part of the school board that helped prevent teacher furloughs while also giving members a salary bump a few years ago.

The salary increase effectively removed the Newport-Mesa teacher's union from one of the bottom rungs of salaries in Orange County, according to Collier.

"I'm sort of sad," said Collier. "We've done a good job for teachers. "We are the ones who are proven. We brought the teachers up from the bottom of the county to No. 2, pay-wise. I don't know what the deal is."

Claytor commended Collier for serving on the board, adding that the endorsement of his opponent was not mean to be taken personally.

Zimmerman said she has a lot of respect for the teachers of the district and she knows what it takes, herself having worked and volunteered in the classroom for many years.

"I'm grateful for all the work they do for the students," Zimmerman said. "The fact that teacher union officials backed Judy just shows how hard it is to break from the status quo with a 30-year incumbent."

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