Fresno school board race begins to get interesting

I live in the Hoover High School area so I’m just getting campaign mail from Area 6 school board candidates. But judging by the context of my mailbox, incumbent Janet Ryan could have trouble winning re-election against George Whitman, who is backed by the Fresno Teachers Association. I have received several union-paid mailers mailers from Whitman, and a “robocall” from the FTA office on his behalf. Whitman has also walked my neighborhood.

Ryan is barely on the radar judging by my campaign mail. As an incumbent, ¬†she has a built-in network of support, and in a normal election, wouldn’t be vulnerable. But she has been targeted by the FTA. There are three other candidates in the Area 6 race, but the contest seems to be coming down to a Ryan/Whitman race for the Hoover area seat.

The FTA is also backing¬†Andrew Doris, who is challenging incumbent Carol Mills in the Area 5 race. Ryan and Mills are supporters of Superintendent Michael Hanson, and the teachers union wants Hanson fired. Of course, the FTA has opposed every superintendent the district has had over the past two decades. It’s an organizing tactic for the union.

The third seat up on Nov. 6 is held by Larry Moore, who is stepping down. Moore is the former president of the FTA. There are four candidates seeking to succeed Moore in Area 2, but Hanson’s status is less of an issue in that race. But the FTA is backing Esmeralda Diaz in Area 2.