CERRITOS — A campaign kickoff for H. Ernie Nishii’s election to the ABC Unified School District Board will be held on Sunday, Aug. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Frontier Park, 16910 Maria Ave. in Cerritos.
Three of the seven seats on the school board are up for by-district general election on Nov. 7. In her bid for re-election, incumbent Soo Y. Yoo is running unopposed. Incumbent Lynda Johnson faces former candidate Daniel Fierro, newcomer Nishii, and former member Armin Reyes for the Trustee Area 3 seat. The race for the Trustee Area 6 seat includes former candidate Louise Dodson and newcomer Olga Rios. The deadline to register to vote in this election is Oct. 23.
“I have never run for office before,” Nishii said in a statement. “The reason I am running is that I offer a unique voice — that of the non-political parent. My support comes mainly from parents, PTAs and foundations. I am not an ‘insider’ seeking the myriad of endorsements of the various mayors, commissioners, and other political groups.
“As a father, my strength is that I directly feel the urgency of acting in favor of public safety issues for the kids and directly see the technological shortfalls in education. As a husband to a retired teacher, I know what it is to have labor unrest and the negativity associated with being ‘fired/riffed’ despite seven years’ experience.
“As a son of a Tule Lake incarceree, I heard stories of injustice dictated by a simple presidential order. And thus I believe part of our education should include civil rights that inculcate civic values that cannot be taken away by the stroke of a pen.
“As an attorney, we always wish the client followed our advice BEFORE the client acted. When I am on the board, I won’t have that complaint and I will act to reduce our exposure to lawsuits.”
“Better schools for a better tomorrow means investing in our schools. We all have a stake. Seniors have a stake in a growing vibrant community and rising values: schools are a primary factor in creating stable and growing neighborhoods. For businesses, better schools mean a better-trained workforce. Not just academically but also vocationally. Businesses want people with specific and applicable hands-on knowledge so they can apply new concepts and quickly and efficiently produce without training from the very bottom. Better schools for families mean children get to select their future and improve their choices.”
Nishii outlined his three top priorities:
“Studies show that scores are directly related to the amount of instruction given. More school instruction equals better results. We need to be above the minimum state standard of 180 days to be an above-average district. This does not require gobs of money and it enables more arts, vocational, and academic education. This increased instruction will float all educational ‘boats’ higher and hopefully reduce the gap between higher-performing schools and lower-performing schools. This additional instructional time can be achieved either through more teachers or adding to the existing teacher time and pay.
“Invest in our infrastructure. The Ad Hoc Committee on Facilities found significant needs for our district. Although the schools are safe, they are in need of repair. We need to utilize the analysis of what needs to be repaired and what simply needs to be replaced and implement it with the current available funds. When those funds are depleted (setting aside rainy-day emergency funds) we need to seek out sufficient additional funds to complete the necessary projects. This can be done either through grants, leveraging parent resources, finding substantial efficiencies, and/or financing. If financed, the community should be engaged (as it has been through the ad hoc outreach efforts).
“Term limits. Though the district is doing well under the superintendent, the board is needed to provide the community input regarding its educational priorities. If the board members never change due to the overwhelming power of incumbency, no one really knows what the community input really is and no new ideas are generated. In short, we need new blood for new ideas to meet the challenges of the 21st-century learning environment.
“As a new person unfamiliar with the politics of ‘no,’ I can contribute to new ideas — generated through my experience as a parent living in technology. I will not be swayed by naysayers … When I bring out new people to vote, I win, but also the community wins.”
Those planning to attend the kickoff are asked to RSVP to Meena Jethva-Archaery at (714) 767-2903.