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Sherratt, McMahon cruise to victory in school board race

Submitted by on 1, November 3, 2010 – 1:19 amNo Comment

Longtime Alameda Unified School District administrator Marjorie Sherratt and incumbent Mike McMahon cruised to easy victories in Tuesday night’s school board race, besting three other candidates for the seats.

“Now the real work begins on passing a replacement parcel tax to keep our schools open and keep class size from exploding,” McMahon said in a statement Tuesday night. “I appreciate the unique opportunity to serve my third term as a school board member.”

Sherratt earned 10,295 votes, more than any other candidate in any local contest and 36.64 percent of the vote in her race. McMahon secured 23.37 percent of votes in the school board race for a second-place finish.

Both Sherratt and McMahon had advocated for a replacement parcel tax to help plug the district’s growing budget deficit. McMahon said he’d like the district to consider restructuring its secondary schools and to introduce greater academic rigor to students, while Sherratt said she’d build morale and consensus on the board and would seek to expand the district’s partnerships with community colleges and its use of online courses, in order to save money on books and enhance offerings.

The pair bested James Pruitt, a director of labor negotiations for Kaiser Permanente who said he’d put his negotiating and budget expertise to work for Alameda Unified; Clay Pollard, who advocated a back-to-basics approach that included greater fiscal discipline and efforts to bridge the district’s achievement gap; and Rand Wrobel, who sought to charter the school district.

“I congratulate Mrs. Sherratt and Mr. McMahon. They and their fellow board members face on our behalf significant challenges. In my role as an Alamedan I will do what I can to help them,” Pruitt said early Wednesday. “I want to thank all the people and groups that supported my candidacy and especially former board member and my campaign manager Barbara Rasmussen.”

The school board race saw a last-minute e-mail effort by parents who supported Sherratt and McMahon who raised questions about Pollard’s strong opposition to Lesson 9, the district’s anti-gay bullying curriculum, and Pruitt, who denied claims he supported a conservative religious group’s anti-gay philosophy. McMahon himself faced charges that he is anti-gay due to his early vote against Lesson 9; he had said he was seeking an opt-out.

The existing board is slated to vote this month on a parcel tax proposal to put before voters in March and a list of cuts they will have to make to maintain a balanced budget.

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