Incumbents Retain Seats on School Board

Nate Tabak of The Daily Californian staff contributed to this report.





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The new Board of Education the city of Berkeley elected last night sent a message that voters want more budgetary responsibility from their board members but also affirmed that they are at least somewhat satisfied with the board's progress.

In a small victory celebration at her home, Nancy Riddle-chief finance officer for a local business and newly elected board member-said she was tired, but that her victory will give the school board a strong sense of fiscal guidance.

"I think that it was broad support (that got me elected)," she said. "People saw my financial background and said, 'I need a piece of that.' I'm looking forward to going back to research and committee work."

Riddle's victory raised hopes that the district will soon solve its budget woes.

"She's got a big business background and done a lot of (committee work) and I think that she'll be helpful in getting into the district through budget issues," said Andy Turner, school board student director.

Despite voter's dissatisfaction with the district's $3.9 million deficit, incumbents Shirley Issel and Terry Doran retained their seats on the board.

Issel campaigned heavily on decreasing the racial and economic achievement gap. She also stressed her leadership in establishing a writing program in Berkeley's public schools.

She said her re-election is a sign from the voters that the board was on the right track in bringing the district out of the red.

"I'm really pleased," Issel said. "It's an affirmation of the board and the direction we are taking to face up to a problem. I think it is a recognition of the progress we made."

Doran, a former Berkeley High School teacher, has been a strong advocate for students and creating small schools at the high school.

"I am just glad to continue what I started pushing for four years ago," he said, adding that he was pleased with the makeup of the new school board.

In another city election, a pro-tenant slate of rent board commissioners swept their way onto the Rent Stabilization Board.

"I'm very happy to be able to work as a commissioner to protect, extend (and) maintain these protections," said incumbent Howard Chong, a recent UC Berkeley alumnus.

Other rent board commissioners elected include Robert Evans, Pinkie Payne, Chris Kavanagh and incumbent Selma Spector.

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