Five candidates are vying for two seats in the financially pressed Montebello Unified School District.
The Board of Education was forced to make $7.3 million in funding cuts before it approved the district's $109.9-million budget for the current school year.
Those cuts included increasing the student-teacher ratio in fifth- through eighth-grade classrooms from 31 students per teacher to about 32 students per teacher. The board also eliminated after-school recreation programs.
The district has 27 elementary, intermediate and high schools with an enrollment of about 31,500. The district serves all or parts of Monterey Park, Rosemead, Montebello, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Downey and Pico Rivera, as well as unincorporated areas of South San Gabriel and East Los Angeles.
Board members receive a $600 monthly stipend.
Incumbent Arthur M. Chavez, manager of a canned food distribution center, said he would like to see the student-teacher ratio lowered and the after-school programs restored if the district receives more state funding in the future.
Chavez, 45, said he and other school board members must work harder to lobby the Legislature and governor for more money.
Chavez became a board member in 1978. He has reported raising $6,295 and spending $2,341. The contributions included $1,000 from the Montebello Teachers Assn. Chavez did not meet the filing deadline for the second reporting period, which ended Oct. 17, according to a spokesman for the county registrar-recorder's office.
Board member Willard G. Yamaguchi was elected to the board in 1983 and is seeking reelection for a second term.
Yamaguchi, a former math and journalism teacher, is attending law school and works as a law clerk. He said getting more state funding is a top priority. Yamaguchi said he would like to see the district's after-school recreation programs restored when there is enough money.
Yamaguchi, 30, has raised $2,250. His contributions include $1,000 from the Montebello Teachers Assn. Yamaguchi also did not file his second campaign statement.
Paul Lopez, a retired district teacher and administrator, said his years of experience would lend stability and expertise to the board. He said he would emphasize strong basic education programs as well as reducing classroom size.
Lopez, 62, reported raising $3,200. He did not file a second-period campaign statement.
Bobbie Clark Odou, 59, said she would like to see the district place more emphasis on the three R's. Odou, a community volunteer, has raised $1,691 and spent $698.
Robert S. Preciado, a professional musician who also manages a family welding business, said he wants to lower the teacher-student ratio. Preciado, 37, has received $1,669 in loans and contributions.