4 Modesto school board hopefuls top $10K

One incumbent has most, but others not far behind

September 25, 2009 

A few political high rollers stand out among the nine candidates seeking four seats on the Modesto City Schools Board of Education. Four of them have raised more than $10,000.

Incumbent Steve Collins leads the pack with $14,517 — $10,000 of which he borrowed. The retired Modesto Junior College instructor and administrator has picked up donations from business and education leaders including Stanislaus County school board member Mary Ann Sanders and Modesto Irrigation District Director Tom Van Groningen.

Challenger Ruben Villalobos gathered $14,200. His donors include fellow Modesto attorneys Armando Flores and Kirk McAllister. Villalobos also has received nearly $6,000 in donated money and products from Citizens for Excellence in Education, the political action committee of the district's teachers union.

Challenger Jim Standart also is a large benefactor of CEE — of his $11,800 in campaign contributions, $9,200 has come from the committee, either through monetary donations or newspaper advertisements, signs and other products.

Challenger Sue Zwahlen borrowed $7,900, raised $836 in small contributions and received $1,715 in nonmonetary contributions from the CEE.

Incumbent Nancy Cline is getting some financial help from conservative leaders such as county supervisors Jim DeMartini and Jeff Grover as well as land-use attorney George Petrulakis. Cline has raised $7,680.

Candidates with smaller treasure chests are challenger Solange Altman, $2,720; incumbent Cindy Marks, $2,500; incumbent Belinda Rolicheck, $1,530; and challenger Josh Vander Veen, $1,300.

Modesto City Councilman Dave Lopez contributed $170 to Vander Veen's campaign. Lopez is Vander Veen's stepfather.

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

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