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Trio of candidates seeks votes for Pleasant Ridge Union School District school board election

Three candidates running and only two open seats in the Nov. 6 race
By: Megan Moore Journal Correspondent
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The race is on for the Pleasant Ridge Union School District Board of Trustees.
Pleasant Ridge Union School District has a five member board which represents the communities of Auburn, Lake of the Pines, Grass Valley and Alta Sierra. Two seats are up this election and Robert Tice-Raskin, Scott Hopper and Mary Newberry will be on November’s ballot.
Tice-Raskin seeks to preserve academic excellence
Robert Tice-Raskin wishes to continue his position with the board because he believes in the kids and the importance of providing them with a top-notch education and he also believes in public service.
Tice-Raskin and his wife have had children in Pleasant Ridge schools since 2005. They currently have three children attending Cottage Hill elementary and two in Magnolia Intermediate, he said.
“I have the training, experience, judgment and dedication to serve as a wise leader for our district,” Tice-Raskin said.
“I am a Harvard law school graduate, a practicing attorney, a career public servant and an active volunteer, leader in our schools and for numerous youth groups,” he added.
There are three enviable success stories in Pleasant Ridge Union School District, he said.
The intermediate and elementary schools provide students with excellent core academic programs and extracurricular programs, Pleasant Ridge Union School District has a very talented and dedicated faculty and administration and the student to teacher ratio has remained comparatively low and overall academic performance has remained high, Tice-Raskin said.
Tice-Raskin wants to maintain this high level of academic performance.
“Our administration, faculty, parents and community at large must rededicate ourselves to the preservation of excellence in our schools. They must work in a concerted and collaborative manner to fund and maintain our current program levels and staff levels, and must ensure that our curriculum and resources continue to evolve so that we remain ahead of the curve in innovative and effective education,” Tice-Raskin said.
“Pleasant Ridge Union School District’s biggest challenge, like most districts, is maintaining good financial health; due to over five years of state cuts exceeding $5 million, our district is facing significant potential budget shortfalls over the next three years,” he said.
Tice-Raskin offers two solutions to this problem.
First, he along with the current board, has asked voters to approve a limited, five-year parcel tax to raise sufficient additional revenue to maintain the district’s current academic and extracurricular activities and second, they have asked the district administration to solicit input from the school community regarding various potential program reductions, including the community’s views as to the priority of any reductions, he said.
“In the end the goal will be to keep the district on both a sound educational and financial keel,” Tice-Raskin said.
Newberry has knowledge of organizations and regard for education
Mary Newberry is running for the board because she wants to serve in the community, she said.
“I believe my knowledge of organizations and regard for education will enhance my ability to serve as a school board member,” Newberry said.
Newberry feels qualified to represent the board because she has lived in this community for 34 years and raised three children here, she said.
“I have been a community volunteer, parent volunteer, instructional aide, and teacher in the Pleasant Ridge Union School District and a 4H community leader over those 34 years; all of those efforts give me an understanding of the challenges education has faced in the past,” she added.
Newberry believes the Pleasant Ridge Union School District has an outstanding record for student achievements over the past 34 years.
“This has been evidenced not just by test scores, but the students’ accomplishments in life; the teaching staff has always given above and beyond what is required and I have great respect for the profession,” Newberry said.
“I would like the voters to know I am a dedicated and industrious community member and I do believe every member of our community can play an important part in education; I feel blessed to be in a position in my life to be able to give time to the Pleasant Ridge Union School Board,” she added.
Hopper seeks to maintain current programs
Scott Hopper is a current member of the board of trustees.
“As an incumbent, I feel it is important to maintain programs for children while operating within a fiscally responsible manner; the days of deficit spending have to stop,” Hopper said.
“I grew up in a small town and moved to Los Angeles where I lived for 21 years, therefore I have knowledge of what it takes to successfully operate in a small-town environment as well as a large metropolitan city,” Hopper said.
“I’m an entrepreneur who has owned and operated many businesses and the one principle which is a true fact about me is I’m a fiscally conservative board member,” he added.
Scott has a daughter who attended Sierra school and graduated from Magnolia Intermediate and a son, who attended Alta Sierra, graduated from Cottage Hill and is currently attending Magnolia, he said.
“I have supporters from all three school sites which include PTC members and presidents, parents, coaches, teachers, business owners, church leaders as well as Supervisor Ed Scofield,” Hopper said.
“My community has asked me to run again due to my varied skill sets, accessibility and a great understanding of the financial issues,” he added.
The largest challenge the district faces right now is a shortfall of money due to lack of funds which totals $5.9 million over the past five years, Hopper said.
“I plan to address this issue by endorsing and promoting Measure K. If this measure does not receive the necessary votes, then I as a board member will use data which is currently being generated by the district office,” he added.
“There are no easy answers or solutions to be found,” Scott said.
“I feel with my well established relationships within many stakeholder groups including staff and community leaders, having a child within the district, being a fiscal conservative who understands what it takes to run a businesses, I am the best choice for the Pleasant Ridge Union School District Board,” he added.