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DECISION 96

Meet the Candidates : Mesa Union 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 are running for two open seats on the Mesa school board. Karen Stearns chose not to run after serving 13 years, and James Niles is running for the Ventura County Community College District board. The key issues concern preserving Mesa's small-school atmosphere, managing the school district's growth and using technology to prepare students for the future.

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Timothy Osslund

Age: 38

Occupation: Biochemist

Education: Bachelor's degree in biochemistry from UC Davis, PhD in molecular biology from UCLA

Background: Osslund founded the Applied Computer Technology Team, which helped students at Mesa Elementary School gain access to the Internet, and he designed the school's Web page. He started Mesa Junior High's first computer club and has been an AYSO soccer coach for three years.

Issues: Osslund supports the use of technology to enhance the basic educational process: reading, writing, arithmetic. He plans to help staff, parents and students learn how to use technology, such as the Internet, as an educational tool. He wants to figure out a way to spend money effectively in all matters, from watering the grass to purchasing new computer equipment.

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Carl B. Grether

Age: 40

Occupation: Farmer

Education: Bachelor's degree in agriculture, Cal Poly Pomona

Background: A member of Mesa Union district's budget committee, Grether is president of the Oxnard Pest Control Assn. board of directors. All three of his daughters attend Mesa Elementary School.

Issues: Grether favors preserving the small-school atmosphere at Mesa. He wants to keep class sizes from exceeding 30 students by taking advantage of state funds, making sure the school district's money is used wisely and preventing a large number of inter-district transfers. Grether plans to bring in more aides to help relieve the teachers' workloads.

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Paula P. Hoffman

Age: 40

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor's degree in history and master's degree in library science from Brigham Young University; law degree from Pepperdine University

Background: Hoffman volunteered for more than a year with the Court Appointed Special Advocate program to represent foster children in court. She is a former leader in Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts, and has a son who attends Mesa Elementary.

Issues: Hoffman's top priority is to prepare Mesa for the future through technology and to help reduce class size. As an attorney, she says she would be in a position to help the board take advantage of state opportunities to reduce class size. She wants to have Mesa parents get involved in writing grants to fund more school programs and obtain equipment.

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Julie Sanchez

Age: 39

Occupation: Dental office manager

Education: Bachelor's degree in communication from Stanford University

Background: Sanchez has been a member of the recently formed Mesa Master Plan Committee that maps out development for the school district.

Issues: Sanchez's main concern is to preserve the quality of education at Mesa and the small-school atmosphere by limiting the school district's growth. She wants to construct more buildings to accommodate the growing number of students. She wants educational programs and services at the junior high school to be on a par with other junior highs in foreign languages, electives and sports programs.

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