A special election will take place on April 12 to replace Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) Trustee Carol Mills, who passed away last year. She served as a trustee for 17 years. Trustee Area 5 covers the Fresno High School area. Four candidates are vying for the open seat. The Board opted to fill the seat with a special election rather than an internal appointment.
Background: Part-time professor in the Sociology Department at Fresno State, co-director of the Center for Community Voices at Fresno State, community organizer with Faith in the Valley
Endorsements: Rev. D.J. Criner, senior pastor at Saint Rest Baptist Church; Manuel Bonilla, president of the Fresno Teachers Association; Jake Soberal, co-founder and CEO of Bitwise; Geri Yang-Johnson, Fresno High area parent; Alison Garibay, a former student
- Create community schools to provide more holistic support for students and their families.
- Invest in social, emotional and mental health.
- Initiate universal pre-K.
- Put students, teachers and parents at the center of decisions about district budget spending.
- Allow respectful public comment.
- Fund music and the arts across all levels.
- Opposes banning or censoring books and subject matter.
Background: Retired parole administrator; views himself as a consensus builder
Endorsements: Esmeralda Soria, Fresno City Council member; James Martinez and Kimberly Tapscott-Munson, Fresno County Board of Education trustees; Elizabeth Jonasson, FUSD trustee; Henry R. Perea, former Fresno County supervisor
- Close the reading, writing and math proficiency gap before students graduate.
- Provide incentives to teachers and help families get involved in student outcomes.
- Invest in college preparedness, dual enrollment programs and vocational training.
- Empower and support students, families, teachers and faculty.
- Ensure that district budgets are balanced and reflect equal access and equity for all students.
- Bridge the equity gap between general education and special education.
- Opposes censorship of books if the subject matter is age appropriate.
Background: Retired firefighter; says that he has been asking questions of FUSD officials for nearly two decades
Donors: Doesn’t intend to raise or spend more than $2,000
- Advocated for FUSD to put this seat on the ballot rather than making an appointment.
- Focus more on K-8 education and end social promotion.
- Strive harder to improve student academic performance.
- Get “bad” teachers out of classrooms more quickly.
- Form a parent council at each school in the Fresno High area.
- Opposes making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for students and staff.
- Disagreed with changing the Fresno High mascot.
Background: Retired teacher; practices motorcycle therapy
- Restore police officers for security on middle school campuses.
- Believes that teachers can change the course of students’ trajectories with their interaction.
- Feels that virtual instruction doesn’t give students a good education.
- Opposes Covid-19 vaccine mandate for students and staff (“I believe in freedom”).
- Thinks that the Fresno High mascot change “did not involve their community.”
- Finds the FUSD superintendent limited in information about district administration.
- Says that district politics can sometimes make the job of teaching less enjoyable.