Tracy Unified School District Trustee James P. Vaughn announced his candidacy for re-election before a gathering of West High School students outside the school Friday afternoon.
His message to the voters was to promote an effort to keep putting Tracy kids first and make the community a great place to live and to raise children.
“First in our hearts, first on our agenda and first in our actions,” he said. “To accomplish this mission, we all need to work together to make a difference.
“When I embarked on this educational journey 14 years ago — I was elected in 2004 — I ran because I love Tracy and I wanted our students to attend the best schools,” he said. “I was 35 years old with lots of passions and big dreams.”
Addressing the West High students, Vaughn said that during his tenure as a trustee, the district built the school its own stadium, pool and theater. He said the district turned to the community to learn what the people wanted and then promote bonds to make those projects possible, along with other projects including the construction of a new Central School and improvements at South-West Park and Monte Vista schools.
“We set up committees from all backgrounds in Tracy and found what the needs were,” he said. “What the main thing was that I’m proud of is that every dollar that the taxpayers spent to get these things built. We used it on the facilities for the kids. None of the money was wasted.”
Vaughn praised TUSD programs such as Summer Bridge, Advancement Via Individual Determination and College Bound, which he said enable students to connect with their schools and take ownership of their education.
“We need to work together — all the students, teachers, classified staff, administrators and the parents,” he said. “We need to continue to work together so we can make a difference.”
“For the students, we recognize your hard work and effort,” he added. “Your test scores have gone up this past year, and we want to continue to provide up-to-date curriculum and facilities and promote a college-going culture.”
He said some of the district’s bragging points right now are maintaining a balanced budget, passing three bond measures, and achieving higher standardized test scores and fewer suspensions. He asked the students, parents and staff of TUSD to support his re-election.
Vaughn is one of nine people running for four seats on the TUSD board of education in November. Also on the ballot are D.A.R.E. officer Stephen Abercrombie, educator Ameni E. Alexander, carpenter Mateo Morelos Bedolla, deputy district attorney Simran Kaur, financial adviser Jeremy Silcox, incumbent trustee Gregory Silva, social worker/advocate Lori Souza and pastor James Young Sr.