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TUSD board to welcome new trustees, return incumbents

Frantz takes TID seat

TUSD board to welcome new trustees, return incumbents

Turlock Unified School Board trustee-elect Grady Welch and his wife Veronica anxiously look at the first round of election results from the Stanislaus County website. As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Welch w...

POSTED November 8, 2011 11:27 p.m.


Grady Welch, a Turlock Unified School District trustee-elect, is ready to make changes in the district and build positive, interactive relationships with those he called the backbone of Turlock schools —the teachers, staff and principals.

“I want them to know I’m going to be a presence in our schools and I will work with them and I want to hear what they have to say,” said Welch.

The parole agent and father of four (two current TUSD students) said one of the specific changes that he would like to see is bus service for Walnut Elementary Education Center students.

“I think we should provide busing for the kids from the Westside of town because I don’t think they should be denied the opportunity of a great education just because of transportation,” he said. “I work a lot on that side of town as a parole agent and I see the environment a lot of these kids live in on a daily basis.  I feel we should give them an opportunity because I don’t want to see them later going into the (parole) system.”

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, with 59.65 percent of precincts counted, Welch was in third place for the four-seat TUSD election. Incumbent Eileen Hamilton was leading, followed by incumbent and current board president Frank Lima.

“I’m grateful the citizens of Turlock have allowed me to serve this community again and I’m looking forward to working with the new board members,” said Lima.

Hamilton offered advice to trustee-elects: “I hope they are able to come to the California School Board Association conference. When I was elected I was invited to attend and it was a very good chance to learn about the Brown Act and how school district budgets work. It really takes a long time to understand and the conference is a very good learning experience to start with.”

The fourth place seat was still up for grabs as challenger Andrew Johnson trailed fellow challenger Harinder Grewal by just 29 votes. It was believed that Johnson would not remain on the ballot and would not serve; he could not be reached for comment by press time.

In other elections, Turlock Irrigation District incumbent board member Michael Frantz crushed challenger Christopher Barth.

“I’m honored and humbled by the level of support and I look forward to serving the people of Turlock for another four years. I will push back against state mandates from Sacramento to increase rates,” he said.

Denair Unified School District challenger John Plett, a retired law enforcement officer and current substitute teacher led voting as of 10 p.m. The three-seat race was rounded out by incumbent Carolyn Brown and challenger Don Smith and fellow challenger Julian Wren were clearly on the outside of the race.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence from the community and here we go,” said Plett. “I’m just going to keep the same message: We will have to continue doing our best with limited resources available. There’s no sugarcoating is and I think it’s positive that the public is aware of what we are facing and I think they will be understanding that it will be a challenging time in the next few years.”

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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