Like a recent forum sponsored by the Junior State of America (JSA) and the Temple City Voice, a Temple City Chinese American Association meeting gave each School Board candidate a chance to address its members. Temple City Mayor Judy Wong posed a series of questions to the candidates.
The meeting began with the candidates introducing themselves.
“I have three kids attending Temple City schools,” said Robert McKendrick, incumbent on the School Board. “Any decision that helps my kids will help all.”
While most of the candidates had personal reasons for climbing the community ladder, Joan Vizcarra’s were much more intimate. “Deandre Netter died on my driveway,” she said, “and I want to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.”
The first question discussed the issue of the bond. For Janet Rhee, the bond was a necessity, but too risky to take without consulting others. “Fifty-five million dollars is a lot of money, and we have to make sure we’re getting our money’s worth,” said Rhee in regards to the $24 million bond issued in 1998.
Also, the prospect of school expansion and permanently implementing a Chinese class at the high school was touched upon.
While Robert (Bob) Ridley believed that expanding Temple City High School would rank it on par with other schools, he assured that the staff and students gave the school esteem. “People come to Temple City for our wonderful teachers and student body, not for its dirt track field.”
A permanent Chinese class was deemed as necessary by LaSota for cultural purposes. “Having another language taught at school promotes tolerance, and goes to show that Temple City High is very diverse.”
As the questions began to narrow out, all candidates stated that community participation is instrumental to the success of the city’s schools. Yet, they all agreed that citywide participation is relatively low.
Dan Arrighi attributed the lack of participation to hectic work schedules and crammed agendas. “We already have PTA letters and PTA calendars, and forums like this are great to get the community involved,” said Arrighi on possible remedies. Delivering coffee could be another tactic, said Vizcarra, even to a citizen’s doorstep.
Though separated as therapist and parent, lawyer and concerned citizen, each candidate wholeheartedly believes that Temple City’s educational system is important to fight for.
The school board election will occur on November 6, 2007.
This article was written by Randy Shun. It was published in the Temple City Voice on October 31, 2007.