Editorials

Two good guys, but here’s our choice for Ceres School Board District 1

Jim Kinard, left, and Brian De la Porte, right.
Jim Kinard, left, and Brian De la Porte, right. jholland@modbee.com

Voters in northwest Ceres are fortunate to have two excellent candidates to choose from in the Nov. 5 school board election.

Incumbent Jim Kinard, 74, has done a good job representing District 1 and the entire Ceres Unified School District, where he previously worked many years as an elementary school teacher before retiring in 2007, the same year he first was elected. Back then, he helped heal wounds from fighting between faculty and administration, and since has been a conscientious and effective trustee, guiding the district through tough times and lean budgets during the recession.

Now that things are going relatively well, “I want to keep it that way,” Kinard said.

Challenger Brian De la Porte, 38, also has spent a career with youth, starting as a 19-year-old basketball coach at Ceres High School, then teaching and coaching in both Patterson and Delhi, where he is a P.E. instructor. He is finishing a master’s in education and school administration at Stanislaus State.

“I’m passionate about working with kids,” De la Porte said.

Opinion

Although Kinard has been in a trustee’s spotlight for 12 years, and currently is chairman of the school board, it’s debatable which candidate has more name recognition. The Ceres gym is named for De la Porte’s father, Phil, and the candidate is fondly remembered for his 13 seasons of coaching there. And his supporters have plastered the city with his campaign signs.

“You can tell he’s a coach. He’s out to win, going all out, putting in that effort,” Kinard said, graciously, about his much younger opponent. “I would want him on my team.”

It’s too bad that can’t happen on this school board, because both men live in the same district. De la Porte acknowledges having “absolutely nothing bad to say about Jim,” referring to him as “a stand-up guy who has done a lot for our community.”

So this isn’t a cage-fight campaign race. But only one can win.

It’s time for the younger generation to step up, seek leadership roles and provide guidance for a bright future. De la Porte can do that.

He has prepared well, in his career, on the basketball court and his scholastic training. He can bring new ideas and new energy to the board in a way that will bring a new focus on the rising generation.

Winning coaches can be tempted to retire, switch schools or find something else to do when their star athletes graduate, leaving less-experienced and less-talented teammates. De la Porte enjoyed a decent start in Delhi when that small school had more than its fair share of tall, strong players. He knew it would come to an end last season, and it did, when his team posted a dismal 0-26 record.

De la Porte, holding his head high, didn’t bail. That’s the kind of dedication every school district wants and needs. He has our endorsement.

Garth Stapley is The Modesto Bee’s Opinions page editor. Before this assignment, he worked 25 years as a Bee reporter, covering local government agencies and the high-profile murder case of Scott and Laci Peterson.
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