The race for the Colton Joint Unified School District Area 1 between incumbent Randall Ceniceros and Bloomington resident Israel Fuentes was a close one; Ceniceros was the apparent winner until the end of November when numbers shifted in favor of Fuentes as absentee and mail-in ballots were tallied. Fuentes won by 239 votes.
“I was nervous, but I just left it in God’s hands,” Fuentes shared. “It’s a great blessing to be a part of this school board, it’s a great opportunity for me and I’m just very excited.”
Ceniceros reflected on his eight years on the board, citing pride in district improvements that include increased graduation rates, reduced suspensions and expulsions, attendance recovery, energy efficiency, community outreach and academic improvements.
“I applaud our resilient staff and educators for their contributions and tenacity,” remarked Ceniceros, who noted the highlights of his term were presenting his two children with their diplomas at Bloomington High School graduation ceremonies. “What I stated in my commencement address applies to me as I transition from trustee and student advocate to parent, ‘…stay true to your convictions; when you have setbacks, dust off defeat and try again and again.’”
Fuentes, who has two daughters in CJUSD and has been a volunteer for the last decade, noted the impetus for running for school board was his commitment to students and to offer a different perspective.
“I’m looking forward to working as a team, and bringing items to the table as a parent and volunteer.”
Fuentes indicated his top priorities include ensuring each high school graduate has access to college, university, vocational/technical training, and more resources and recognition for special education students.
“The special education kids are given resources, but I think they need to be acknowledged a little more,” Fuentes said. “This isn’t about me, it’s about kids and working as a team.
Fuentes will be sworn in during the CJUSD board meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, at 18829 Orange St., Bloomington.
“I want to thank my family, friends and supporters for your prayers and words of encouragement.”