Crowe Back Aboard As Ontario-Montclair School District Trustee

ONTARIO–Sam Crowe has been returned to the Ontario-Montclair School Board, just two months after he was defeated for reelection.
On November 6, Crowe, an incumbent, captured 10,621 votes or 24.49 percent of the vote and was turned out of office by voters who selected J. Steve Garcia, who received 13,208 votes or 30.45 percent, and Maureen Mendoza, who received 11,638 votes or 26.83 percent. A fourth candidate, Elizabeth Ricci, received 7,903 votes or 18.22 percent.
On the same day, however, another incumbent who had two years remaining on his school board term, Paul Vincent Avila, was elected to the city council.
Avila’s departure created a vacancy, which last week the four members of the school board chose to fill. By a vote of 3-1, with Garcia dissenting, Crowe was selected to replace Avila.
The board, consisting of Kristen Brake, Elvia Rivas, Mendoza and Garcia interviewed Crowe and five other candidates – Robert Anthony Ortega, an 18-year-old student; Sandra Kaye Escamilla, a retired district employee; Flora Martinez, parent and community activist; and two college professors,  Michael Cory Flores and Joseph J. Laponis.
Crowe, who lives in Ontario,  was challenged by Garcia, who suggested that his defeat in November constituted a rejection by voters. Others, as well as Garcia, suggested that the board should select someone from Montclair to sit on the board, as currently all of the members are from Ontario. Moreover, it was alleged, it turned out inaccurately, that Crowe has a hidden agenda to terminate the district superintendent, James Hammond. In actuality, Crowe was a key supporter of Hammond’s hiring and the two had worked closely on district issues over the last two years.
Crowe, a lawyer who was formerly the city attorney in Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga and Hesperia, was on the Ontario City Council four decades ago. He commanded the respect of his fellow board members, who had elevated him to the position of board chairman. Over the last four years, Crowe had championed several education programs, including creating academic classes in science, history and mathematics that double as Spanish immersion classes for non-Spanish speaking students, revamping special education and including in that curriculum a cooking class for special education students, priority class selection for graduates of the Ontario-Montclair School District at several colleges, including Chaffey College, Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal Poly and the University of La Verne, and a program to teach English, math and computer skills to the parents in the district who do not speak English.
Crowe, as a well-established local attorney long involved with the Inland Empire’s business community, had also founded a nonprofit corporation dedicated to raising money for scholarships for district students.
A program Crowe was pursuing but had not completed when he was defeated in November was a joint educational class involving a video link-up with instructors and students in Africa.
Crowe’s appointment was supported by the Ontario-Montclair Teachers Association and the Ontario-Montclair Classified Employees.
“We welcome Mr. Crowe back,” said school board president Rivas.

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