New OUHSD trustees both say academy high school is a priority

Gary Davis and Steve Hall, headshots.
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Gary Davis and Steve Hall are the two newest members of the Oxnard Union High School District board of trustees.

Davis, a former superintendent of the district, and Hall, president of the Ventura County Federation of College Teachers, were elected to office on Nov. 6.

The two seats opened up with the retirements of President Dick Jaquez and board member Steve Stocks.

Hall received the most votes, earning 41.1 percent of the total votes cast. Davis earned 31.7 percent of the votes. Sylvia Alejandra Lizama finished third with 20.1 percent, and Mike de Martino came in fourth with 6.6 percent.

Davis, 69, retired since 2005, said he is eager to return to the district’s office on South K Street in Oxnard.

“I’m obviously very pleased with the result,” said Davis, who has lived in Oxnard for 47 years. “I know the district well and look forward to making a contribution to providing the best possible education for our children.”

Davis said one of his top priorities is the completion of the two proposed schools in the district: the Camarillo Academy High School and Performing Arts Center and a yet-unnamed school in Oxnard, both funded by Measure H, a ballot initiative passed in November 2004 that gave the district $135 million in bond money to renovate existing high schools and build the two new campuses.

“It’s important to keep those two projects on timeline,” Davis said.

Hall, who also views the construction of the new schools as a top priority, said he was honored and humbled by receiving the largest number of votes. Hall made a point of not communicating with any members of the current board before the election and looks forward to meeting with each of them now.

“You have to communicate with everybody,” said Hall, who has lived in Camarillo for the past 12 years. “I’m going to go in, and I’m going to listen.”

The 44-year-old said the passage of Prop. 30—Gov. Brown’s school funding initiative—was the biggest news of the night, but the district would still have pressing budget issues to deal with in the coming months.

“No.1 is that we still face some fiscal challenges,” Hall said. “That’s an ongoing priority. But you can’t just go in there and tell everybody what to do. I’m going to talk to teachers, parents and other board members to see what can be done to make our schools even better.”

Lizama, an accounting assistant, said that though the election was a disappointment, she is thankful everyone who supported her.

“It was great to receive a substantial amount of votes even though it wasn’t enough for a seat on the board,” Lizama said. “I love what I do and will remain in my current position.”

De Martino, a composer who lives in Oxnard, did not return calls seeking comment.

Davis and Hall will take office on Dec 12.

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