Lots of competition in Modesto City Schools board races

August 7, 2009 

The race for four seats on the Modesto City Schools Board of Education will show some healthy competition with five people challenging the four incumbents.

The filing period for the Nov. 3 election closed 5 p.m. Friday. Winners will face another year of drastic budget cuts and Modesto schools will also lose state funding because of declining enrollment.

With 28,000 students, Modesto City Schools is Stanislaus County's biggest school district. The board's seven trustees each serve for four years.

The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

Solange Altman, 53, is a challenger who was appointed as a trustee in 1992 and served through 1993. She's a private practice attorney who also helps out at her family's farm.

Nancy Cline, 56, is an incumbent who's finishing up her second term. She's a mother of Modesto City Schools alumni.

Steve Collins, 70, is a one-term incumbent and retired educator.

Cindy Marks, 47, is completing her third term on the board. She's the district's longest-serving trustee and a parent of Modesto City Schools graduates.

Belinda Rolicheck, 48, is finishing up her first term on the board and serves as executive director of Haven Women's Center in Modesto.

Jim Standart, 62, is a newcomer to public office. He's a retired logistical manager at Morningstar Foods whose daughter and son-in-law work at a Modesto high school.

Josh Vander Veen, 24, is a challenger and attended Modesto City Schools from kindergarten through eighth grade. He graduated from Modesto Christian High School.

Ruben Villalobos, 35, is challenging for a seat. This is his first run at public office. He's a private practice attorney in Modesto.

Susan Zwahlen, 55, rounds out the challengers. She's an emergency room nurse at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, with five children who are graduates of Modesto City Schools and one an incoming freshman at a Modesto high school.

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at mhatfield@modbee.com or 578-2339.

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