Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

September 18, 2012
Elk Grove school board candidates meet in forum

School board candidates sparred on issues that included employee relations, school funding and salaries at a candidates' night in Elk Grove yesterday hosted by The Bee, Elk Grove Patch and Elk Grove News.Net.

Candidates spelled out their positions and answered questions from a panel of journalists, including myself.

The lone incumbent Al Rowlett found himself defending the actions of the current board, as challengers tried to convince the audience they could do better.

Many of the candidates - Tony Perez, Steve Ly, Carmine Forcina and James Letoa - have been educators. Most of the candidates at the forum said the district hadn't done a good job of working with its employee unions.

Candidate James Letoa said Superintendent Steven Ladd was being paid too much. He said Ladd and his wife were getting lifetime health benefits and that he'd like a job like that.

He wouldn't have to be a superintendent in the Elk Grove Unified District to get lifetime health benefits, however. The district offers lifetime health benefits to all its employees, including teachers. As a matter of fact, one school board member - elected or appointed before 1995 - is still eligible for lifetime health benefits. In 1995 the state eliminated that perk for board members.

The most vigorous exchanges last night were in the Area 6 race that includes Jake Rambo, the appointed incumbent, and Steve Ly, a teacher at the Sacramento County Office of Education. When Rambo mentioned a conflict, Ly announced that his wife works for the district and that he would vote on employee contracts. He said the law allows it.

But all the candidates agreed on one issue - teacher evaluations. An audience member asked whether teacher evaluations should be based entirely on student tests. No one thought that was a good idea.

The candidates are:
Area 1: Susan Parvis, parent; James Letoa, educator and non-profit director; Tony Perez, retired teacher.
Area 6: Jake Rambo, appointed incumbent; Steve Ly, teacher.
Area 7: Alfred Rowlett: Incumbent; Carmine Forcina. retired teacher; Theresa Beals, parent.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

(916) 321-1073
Twitter: @LorettaSacBee
(916) 321-1090
Twitter: @dianalambert

Latest Tweets

Education stories on

Great Schools

Find a school. Connect with parents. Worksheets & activities. Homework help. Parenting dilemmas.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31