PICO RIVERA — The El Rancho Unified School District Board’s hiring of a paid consultant at $64,000 for four months has provided a point of contention between the six candidates running for three seats on the five-member board in the Nov. 8 election. Even incumbent Lupe Salas, who voted to hire the consulting firm to determine why North Park Middle School continues to fail to reach testing targets, said she voted yes for the consultant with mixed feelings. “I voted for it because I was told it was mandatory,’ she said, but added that she “would rather see this money used to assist the students, instead of going to a consultant who will tell us that we are not up to par. We already know that.’ But her fellow incumbent, Rita Jo Ramirez, defended her vote to hire an outside expert to help solve a lingering problem at the North Park school. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “Anyone who can come in and give us direction is wonderful,’ she said. “We have to keep our doors and windows open, because someone else always knows something you haven’t tried.’ Three of their four challengers in the Nov. 8 election, however, are seizing on the hiring as a campaign issue. “When we have schools that are failing, it is obvious money is being mismanaged and going into projects that are not being effective at helping students,’ said challenger Allan Maciel. “They should get the teachers to work on the problem.’ Candidate James Roybal said he does not like the idea of an outside agency involved in an internal district problem. “I feel the board isn’t asking the questions that need to be asked when it comes to the hiring of a consultant,’ he said. “My problem with the consulting issue is the parents aren’t involved and the teachers aren’t involved.’ Candidate Joe Rivera said the district’s hiring of high-priced consultants was one of his concerns when he ran for a board seat two years ago, and it is again an issue for him in this election. “I think the fee is excessive, because some of the work this company is doing could be done by the district office. The leadership should be set from the top down, with board members saying there is a problem here, let’s address it,’ he said. But challenger Alfred Renteria Jr. supports the hiring, saying the money spent now will pay big returns for the district in the long run. “We obviously need to find different ways to get our test scores higher,’ he said. “Every cent we spend is worth it when it comes to children.’ Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028, or by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
"6 contend for El Rancho seats"