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Open School Board Seat Attracts Two Candidates

August 14, 1997|LESLEY WRIGHT

Two contenders have staked their claims for an open seat on the Orange Unified School District Board of Education.

William G. Vasquez, 51, a Santa Ana resident who is assistant city manager of Chino, and Terri Sargeant, 44, of Orange, a land-use planner for the county, are running for the seat being vacated by Max Reissmueller.

Four trustees on the seven-member board, which has become one of the most politically controversial in the county, are up for election on Nov. 4.

The sprawling, 29,000-student district includes Orange and parts of Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Anaheim Hills.

Three trustees whose terms are expiring, Martin Jacobson, Rick Ledesma and James Fearns, filed their bids for reelection with the county registrar of voters on Friday, the deadline for incumbents. Eight other district residents have filed notices to challenge the three incumbents.

Candidates run in one of five trustee areas, depending on where they live. But the elections are decided by voters districtwide.

The majority voting bloc on the board has earned headlines during the last four years for attempting to cut social services out of the district's 37 schools and for promoting privatization and other policies that follow a conservative, back-to-basics agenda.

Jacobson and Reissmueller have been strong advocates of the conservative philosophy that schools should devote themselves strictly to academics and not deal with social problems students may encounter.

But Reissmueller, a 29-year-old self-described Biblical fundamentalist who schools his children at home, failed to file for his seat in Trustee Area 5, which includes the far eastern side of the district. He has been unavailable for comment.

The deadline for entering that race was extended until Wednesday.

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