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DECISION 96

Meet the Candidates : Rio School District

In all, there are more than 130 candidates running in key races in Ventura County this year. On the following pages, you will find capsule summaries of their backgrounds and their positions on key issues.

November 03, 1996

Four candidates, including one incumbent, are vying for two seats on the Rio School District board, which includes five Oxnard-area schools. Art Hernandez, a two-term board president, vacated his position to run for a board seat in the Oxnard High School District. The key campaign issues include gaining better access to computer technology and dealing with school overcrowding.

Ernest J. Almanza

Age: 61

Occupation: Retired carpenter

Education: Graduate of Oxnard High School

Background: Almanza, born and raised in El Rio, has been a Rio School District trustee for 31 years. He is finance chairman of the committee raising money for a Rio school gym and has been an El Rio Little League coach for 23 years.

Issues: Almanza's top priority is to make sure students are not left behind technologically. He wants to make sure money is spent to obtain better computer equipment and software. Almanza supports the construction of two new schools to make way for the district's growing student population. He does not favor split schedules or longer school years to manage school crowding.

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Camie Larson

Age: 38

Occupation: Business owner

Education: A year of psychology at Citrus College and 1 1/2 years of career planning at Santa Barbara City College

Background: Larson, PTA president of Rio Real School, volunteers in school classrooms. Wal-Mart named her "1995 Parent Volunteer of the Year." She was a leader in the push for introducing school uniforms in the district.

Issues: Her most important issue is to improve communication among parents, district staff and teachers. Larson says communication can resolve most of the concerns the district has. She supports bilingual education but is researching different teaching models, saying the current method needs reform. One of her goals is to gain Internet access at every campus.

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Anthony M. Ramos

Age: 29

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor's degree in business economics from UC Santa Barbara and a law degree from Loyola Law School

Background: Ramos, a 29-year El Rio resident and a graduate of the Rio school district, recently began volunteering as a math tutor. He has been a member of the Mexican American Bar Assn. for three years.

Issues: Ramos' top priority is to create an environment conducive to learning. To accomplish this goal, he favors parental involvement, violence prevention programs and access to the best computer technology available. He plans to learn from other schools that have excellent curricula, computer equipment and violence prevention programs.

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Eleanor Torres

Age: 43

Occupation: Receptionist

Education: Attended high school in Bakersfield, completed a year and a half of math and sign language courses at Oxnard Community College

Background: Torres, a 23-year El Rio resident, worked on the School Improvement Project last year for Rio Plaza School and is a former committee member on the Rio School safety program. Her daughter is a senior at Rio Mesa High School.

Issues: Torres wants to see district administrators and teachers work together as a team. She would address this issue by reassuring every teacher and administrator that they are the foundation needed to build a strong district. Her goal is to give teachers more say in the school programs and curriculum.

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