There will be a special election in the district June 8, when voters in Mountain House will decide whether they want to separate their high school education system from the Tracy Unified School District, a move that would give Mountain House its own high school. The ballot will also include candidates for the new Lammersville Unified School District board, which would oversee the future Mountain House high school and the existing Lammersville School District elementary schools.
Matthew Balzarini, a Mountain House Community Services District board member and former school board president, announced his plans to run for the new school board on his Web site Wednesday. Balzarini served on the Lammersville school board for 2½ years and said a high school in Mountain House would be a huge step for the district.
He has decided against seeking another term on the community board.
“I really miss the school board,” Balzarini said. “I really felt like I made an impact when I was there.”
The new school board of five members would replace the present school board in 2011, if voters decide to split with Tracy Unified.
Lammersville School District board member Chris Cunningham said she has ruled out a run for a seat on the new board, but she is excited about Balzarini’s announcement. Cunningham has served on the school board 12 years and worked closely with Balzarini to hire district Superintendent Dale Hansen in 2008.
“For the unified board, I think they need someone with a little bit more business experience and business knowledge (than me),” Cunningham said. “Matt is such an asset to the school board. … He just contributes so much.”
Lammersville school board president Shane Nielson plans to run for a seat on the new board and said he will file his paperwork next week. He’s in the midst of his third term as president and his sixth year on the board.
Nielson said becoming an independent school district would keep Mountain House kids in Mountain House and give them more opportunities for athletics and after-school activities near home.
Lammersville School District board member Atul Khanna also plans to run for a position on the new board. He said he will file his paperwork in early March.
“I think this is an exciting time to develop our own high school, starting from scratch and developing policies,” Khanna said. “I want to do my share to give back to the community.”
Last month, a San Joaquin County education committee gave its OK to the proposal for Lammersville to break away from Tracy Unified, which the district has worked toward since 2008.
Lammersville got approval from Tracy Unified trustees last year to move forward with plans for a high school, which would mean Tracy would lose about 300 high school students and $1.8 million in state money. Students from Mountain House attend Kimball and West high schools.
Forty-six acres of land have been set aside on Mascot Boulevard for a high school, and Hansen said the campus will cost about $80 million to build. The superintendent said the money will come from developers and the state.
If voters give their approval, Lammersville would officially separate July 1, 2011.
“Ultimately, it’s the voters’ decision,” Balzarini said. “We need the voters to get out and vote.”
Lammersville School District has three elementary schools, a fourth under construction and one more planned for 2012. The district has about 1,800 students and a budget of nearly $19 million.
• Contact reporter Jaclyn Hirsch at 830-4269 or email@example.com.