Candidate for Bullard High Trustee Seat Already Raises More Than $117K

Click Here to View Original Story at gvwire.com.

One Fresno Unified school board candidate has raised six figures in campaign contributions — an eye-popping total with the election still nine months away.

Original Story written by David Taub, Senior Reporter for GV Wire News. 

Susan Wittrup, a school psychologist in the district, raised more than $117,000 in 2021. It is one of the largest — if not the largest — candidate totals in FUSD history.

She is one of three candidates who have filed to raise money in the Trustee Area 7 covering the northwest part of the district, generally around Bullard High School.

The incumbent in the area, Terry Slatic, did not raise any funds in 2021. For his 2018 campaign, Slatic raised a shade under $28,000.

Granville Homes Inc. made the largest donation to Wittrup, $15,000. Darius Assemi, the publisher of GV Wire, is CEO and president of Granville Homes.

“I think it’s a fantastic thing that Darius Assemi has decided to run for school board and is bringing all of his street cred and his power and his political connections to trying to bring the light of day onto this massively corrupt, dysfunctional school district,” Slatic said.

Wittrup: ‘Honored’ by Support

Said Wittrup about her fast fundraising start: “I am honored by the support I have received, which underscores how frustrated the residents of the Bullard area are with their current representative and are clamoring for a change. They want a leader focused on their needs and interests, not waging pointless fights from the dais. I look forward to delivering for my neighbors.”

Slatic wouldn’t commit to whether he would fundraise himself.

“Oh, I don’t even think about it. I think about saving the kids there every day, as should anyone else who’s on the current school board,” Slatic said.

The late Carol Mills raised more than $66,000 in her competitive 2020 election. That included a $25,000 self-loan. Wittrup has loaned her campaign $3,000.

Wittrup’s total is the most in a Fresno Unified race since 2008, as far back as available records go. Mills raised more than $69,000 in 2008.

A third candidate in the Bullard area race, former district executive Kurt Madden, reported $10,800 raised for the year.

The next round of campaign reporting is due Aug. 1 (and March 3 for the Area 5 special election).

Levine Leads in Fundraising for Special Election

Four candidates are running to replace Mills in the April 12 special election in Trustee Area 5, covering the Fresno High area.

Andy Levine reported raising more than $36,000, the clear leader thus far. Most of his total is from contributions of less than $1,000.

While Daniel Renteria only reported $5,200 raised, he also had late contributions of $5,000 from Granville Homes and $1,000 from Irene Saul of Irene’s Café in the Tower District. Renteria also reported a $5,000 loan from his wife, Andria Alvarado.

Renteria has a fundraiser scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at Banzai Japanese Kitchen in the Tower District.

Andrew Fabela and Russ Allen filed forms indicating they intend to raise less than $2,000 each.

Fresno Unified Fundraising Totals

Fresno Unified, 2022 election

DistrictCandidate (party)2021 TotalCash on HandDebt
3Valerie Davis (R)*$4,771$4,747$0
4Veva Islas (D)*$1,830$1,218$5,574
5-specialAndy Levine (D)$36,091$25,789$0
5-specialDaniel Renteria (D)$5,200$5,200$5,050
5-specialAndrew Fabela (NPP)>$2,000n/an/a
5-specialRuss Allen (Libertarian)>$2,000n/an/a
7Susan Wittrup (R)$117,547$112,546$3,000
7Kurt Madden (NPP)$10,800$8,413$0
7Terry Slatic (AIP)*                     $0$642$0

* incumbent; totals through Dec. 31, 2021. Parties: D-Democrat; R-Republican; NPP-no party preference; AIP-American Independent Party

Speed Bump Construction Starts

The neighborhoods south of Computech Middle School are not exactly quiet. Construction of the new Fresno City College satellite campus is only a few blocks away. And, the area regularly has city and school buses travel through.

But, at least it will be slightly safer. Construction crews on Monday were building a series of speed bumps on Belgravia Avenue. Neighbors approved.

19 Aug: Watch: Students, Parents Confront Bullard Principal Over Cell Phone Ban
05 Aug: Cellphone Ban at Bullard High Sparks Brouhaha and Online Petition
18 Jul: Speaking Truth to Power on Behalf of Special Ed Students
20 May: Racist Bullard Photo Is Teachable Moment That Deserves More Than Knee-Jerk Response
01 Mar: A Call to Action That Makes Every Fresno Student Excited to Be at School
08 Feb: Candidate for Bullard High Trustee Seat Already Raises more than $117k
09 Jan: Beacons of Excellence