From the arrest of former trustee Cortez Quinn to allegations of police abuse and administrative malfeasance, past troubles still hang over Twin Rivers Unified School District.
Voters looking to tackle the problems of the present should look to a mix of incumbents and passionate newcomers for three contested school board seats.
We endorse Walter Garcia Kawamoto, Basim Elkarra and Daniel Savala. They are best suited to expand upon the good work already being done by Superintendent Steven Martinez and his highly skilled – if also highly paid – administrative team. Area 1 trustee Michael Baker is running unopposed and will get another term.
An educator at American River College, Kawamoto, 48, joined the board in 2012, not long before Quinn was arrested in a paternity case tied to a former Twin Rivers employee.
Kawamoto’s job quickly became one of “cleaning house” and restoring faith in the district. He helped hire Martinez and move the divided board back in the right direction. In a second term, he wants to pull in more funding to help struggling students, including by selling a skeptical public on a potential bond measure.
Ramona Landeros, a volunteer with roots in North Sacramento, shares many of his goals but lacks experience.
Bitterness over this seat dates to 2013, when charter school operator Sonja Cameron beat Elkarra in a special election to replace Quinn, urged by the Sacramento County Democratic Party.
Cameron chose not to run again for health reasons. That leaves Elkarra, 36, head of the local Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Michelle Deleon, a district volunteer. Elkarra, who has a child in Twin Rivers, is endorsed by the local Democratic Party, whose chair is a Twin Rivers teacher and union member.
He has enemies, but also passion and good ideas to expand the PTA and link a student leadership program with the business community. We think he can drive change without alienating fellow trustees.
Daniel Savala, 34, would be an independent voice with fresh ideas for Twin Rivers, taking over a seat long held by embattled board President Linda Fowler, 80.
Savala is a field representative for City Councilman Allen Warren, working with families in this heavily Latino part of the district. He wants more access for non-English speakers and better classroom technology.
Francisco Garcia, 51, a county stock clerk, also is running but on a hazier platform of more transparency.