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School

Lodi Unified School DistrictCandidate for Trustee, Trustee Area 6

Photo of Ron Freitas

Ron Freitas

Educator / District Attorney
6,296 votes (75.1%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • More career and technical education pathways to give students marketable skills.
  • Return children, teachers and staff to classrooms as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Prepare all students for future success in life.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Educator - San Joaquin County Criminal Prosecutor
Deputy District Attorney, San Joaquin County (1989–current)
School Board Member, Lodi Unified School District — Elected position (2016–current)
School Board Member, Lodi Unified School District — Appointed position (2012–2016)

Education

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Bachelors of Science, Agriculture Business Management (current)
University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law JD, Law (current)

Biography

Ron Freitas is the California District Attorneys Association Instructor of the Year for 2017, and the San Joaquin County Probation Officers Court Employee of the Year for 2018.

 

A graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review.  He has served the citizens of San Joaquin County as a Deputy District Attorney, Supervising Deputy District Attorney of the Gang Violence Suppression Unit, Chief Deputy District Attorney of the Homicide and Gang Divisions, and Assistant District Attorney.

 

Throughout his career, he tried numerous gang-related murders and violent felonies.  In San Joaquin County, he was the first to have DNA evidence admitted with a Kelly-Frye hearing, and  tried the first two dual-jury trials. He was also the first to use a gang special circumstance to obtain a death sentence.  He supervised the first gang-related wire surveillance operation. He is a co-founder of the San Joaquin County Gang Violence Prosecution Task Force, and the founder of the San Joaquin County Homicide Task Force, San Joaquin County Evidence Task Force, and the San Joaquin County Grand Jury Task Force.

 

As the Homicide Division Chief, he assisted in the investigation, charged and supervised the prosecution of over 150 murders, including the kidnap, rape and murder of eight year-old Sandra Cantu (2009), the Dalene Carlson kidnap and murder (2011), and the Bank of the West bank robbery, felony-murders (2014). In 2012, he successfully argued to the California Supreme Court that autopsy reports are not testimonial in People v. Dungo (2012) 55 Cal.4th 608.

 

Freitas has been published by the Pacific Law Journal, the California District Attorney’s Association, and the National District Attorney’s Association, and is a chapter author for the Continuing Education of the Bar, Criminal Sentencing Enhancements.

 

In 2019, Freitas was elected to a two-year term to the California District Attoneys Association Board of Directors. Freitas is a co-chair of the C.D.A.A. Gang Violence Suppression Committee.  He is the the Technical Advisor of the C.D.A.A. Gang Symposium and S.T.E.P. Act Prosecutions, and is the Co-Technical Advisor of the Homicide Symposium. He was the Technical Advisor of the C.D.A.A. Intro to Gang Prosecutions, and the Advanced Gang Prosecutions trainings. He first taught for C.D.A.A. in 1996. He has also taught for N.D.A.A., California Gang Investigator’s Association, law enforcement, schools, and community organizations, and he lectured at Boalt School of Law, U.C. Berkeley.

 

In 2012, he was appointed as a Board Member to the Lodi Unified School District, elected President of the Board for 2015-2016, and re-elected in 2016. Freitas is an active member of the San Joaquin County 2x2 committee, and the Legislative Committee. He is  a co-founder and co-chairman of the LIAS Board Safety Committee, and is a member of the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee.

 

In 2016, he was president of the Yes on Measure U campaign committee in which voters approved the issuance of $250 million of school bonds for new construction and renovations in Lodi and north Stockton. He is a Past President of the Giving Opportunities to Kids (GOT Kids, 2019-2020) foundation which raises over $50 thousand annually for needy children to attend science camp and have a fuller educational experience. He is a member of the California School Board Association, and the San Joauqin County School Board Association.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Lodi Police Officers Association
  • San Joaquin Deputy Sheriffs Association
  • Lodi Teachers Association

Organizations (9)

  • Sheet Metal Workers Local 104
  • North Valley Labor Federation
  • California School Employees Association (CSEA)
  • Lodi Unified School Counselors, Nurses and Speech Pathologists
  • Lodi Chamber of Commerce
  • Stockton Police Officers Association
  • San Joaquin County Correctional Police Officers Association
  • San Joaquin Building Trades Association
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

My responses to a variety of campaign and education-related questions.

Summary

Attached are my responses to questions asked by the Lodi News-Sentinel on a range of issues.

Why are you running for school board?

 

During this unprecedented time, its now more important than ever that we ensure every child receives a quality education from passionate, qualified teachers so they have the greatest opportunity for future success in life. Therefore, I want Lodi Unified to provide the best educational experience for our children.  I have served on the school board for ? terms and am proud of the progress the district has made.  I want to continue to work on behalf of students, parents, teachers, and staff in our district to ensure a prompt return to the classroom as soon as is safely possible

 

 

Why are you the best candidate for the seat?

 

During my time on the Lodi Unified School Board, I am proud of our District’s accomplishments.  We have lowered class sizes, increased graduation rates, and decreased suspensions.  We have created career pathways and quality vocational training programs for all our students, implemented advanced reading and math interventions, and increased Career Technical Education, STEM and AP classes. We opened the Valley Robotics Academy to teach our students high demand skills which will lead to good family-wage jobs.  I, also, returned over $5 million to taxpayers while securing the District’s long-term financial stability, and attracting and retaining the best and brightest teachers for our children.

 

As a Deputy District Attorney for the DA’s Office for over 30 years, I bring a unique set of skills that help guarantee we have the safe and secure schools our children deserve, as well as, ethics and integrity to promote a transparent and responsive leadership.  In 2017, I was proud to be named the California District Attorneys Association Instructor of the Year. I am, currently, Co-Chair of the California District Attorney’s Association Gang Violence Suppression Committee and am proud to have the support of the San Joaquin County Deputy Sheriffs Association and the Lodi and Stockton Police Officers Associations.

 

I am a Past President of the Lodi Unified School Board (2015-2016) and the current Vice-President. In 2016, I served as President of the Measure U campaign where voters approved $280 million to increase school security, provide new construction and needed classroom renovations.  I am Past President and current Board of Director for Giving Opportunities to Kids (GOT Kids) Foundation which raised over $750,000 for needy Lodi Unified students to have a fuller educational experience. I am also a member of the California School Boards Association and the San Joaquin School Boards Association.

 

 

 

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish?

 

Government-mandated distance learning is keeping our students at home and away from the socialization and in-classroom learning they need. I vow to return students to school as soon as their safety, and our teachers and staff, can be assured.  An in-person education is vital to our community’s return to normalcy.

 

Our schools are important to me.  I raised my family in our community. My daughters are Lodi Unified graduates, and my grandson graduated from LUSD in 2020.

 

With your support, we will continue providing the highest quality education for our children.

 

 

 

 

How can Lodi Unified School District better serve the community?

 

Our district has a great deal to be proud of.   Lodi Unified has been on the forefront of new technology training for our students and has recently opened the robotics academy to meet the ever-growing demands of our students.  As our district continues to grow, we must continue to provide the educational options that meet the needs of all of our students – be it career and technical education (CTE) which teach skills that train students to go directly into the workforce or preparing other students as they go on to colleges and universities.  Lodi Unified is a diverse district and we must evolve with the ever-changing needs of our students.

 

Your thoughts on:

(Please limit to 100 words or less)

 

Educational inequality:

 

Lodi Unified School District covers over 350 square miles and serves 29,000 students from many backgrounds and experiences, both urban and rural.  Over 70% are children of poverty and 33% are English learners. To best serve these children, LUSD is best prepared to provide an exceptional education experience to all students, no matter their background or experiences. These strategies include providing for challenging curriculum for AP candidates, special education for our “at needs” youth, and daily assistance and encouragement for all students.  With diverse and vibrant educational opportunities, all students are given the best chance to succeed.

 

Student-teacher ratio:

 

As a Board Member, I believe there is no more proven factor for success than lowering class sizes.  Students learn better and teachers can be more effective when the student-teacher ratio is smaller. These successes are most evident in the primary classes, grades kindergarten through third.  That is why during my terms on the Board, I have repeatedly and consistently reduced all class sizes to the extent that LUSD classes are below the state minimum requirements.  With these smaller class sizes, all of our students have more direct instructional time and greater opportunities for success.

 

Local Control and Accountability Plan expenditures/transparency: 

 

Lodi Unified has worked hard to include parents, guardians and stakeholders in the Local Control and Accountability Plan which is our districts strategic planning sessions to ensure funds are spent appropriately and with the input of those who will be affected.  It is important that we maintain and open channel of communication with district residents and continue to solicit their ideas about how our district operates.

 

School safety/security: 

 

School safety and security is the district’s top priority.  When parents or guardians drop their children off at school, they must be assured that schools are safe and protected from harm.  With the spate of school shooting that have taken place across the country over the last few years, school safety has been an issue that has received a great deal of attention and discussion at school board meetings. 

 

Trade schools/skills: 

 

Career and technical education (CTE) programs which teach students skills that prepare them for future entry into the workforce are an important and growing part of the district’s curriculum.  While many high school students on to attend institutions of higher learning, the vast majority of high school students and graduates are beginning their professional careers.  Trade schools and CTE programs are an excellent way for our students to learn the skills and develop the knowledge to get good paying jobs.

 

Technology in education:

 

Charter schools: 

 

Lodi Unified has a very successful and popular dependent charter school, Middle College, that allows high schools students to complete their high school education while earning college credits while attending classes at San Joaquin Delta College.  I am a strong supporter of the district developing, offering, and integrating innovative curriculum that meets the needs of all our students.

 

School discipline: 

 

I believe that all students must be treated equally.  That is the law and I strongly support it.  The state has mandate new disciplinary protocols including the willful defiance standard which governs the punishment for disruptive students. However, I do believe our teachers and administrators should also be able to maintain decorum in our classrooms, so every student has the opportunity to learn without interruption or distraction. 

 

Accountability to taxpayers: 

 

Citizen involvement is key to earning and keeping the trust of the hard-working taxpayers in Lodi Unified.  In order to build and maintain your trust, we encourage and appreciate the public’s  input and participation at our board meetings and reach out to our community when developing our Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) which determines how the district is funded and the metrics by which we successfully provide services and support to our students so they can reach their full potential.  The public’s input and oversight in how we prioritize and spend tax dollars is of paramount to me and my fellow board members.

 

Candidate Contact Info

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