Education

Los Banos school board member resigns citing housing, personal issues

Merced College Los Banos Candidate Forum 2016: Megan Goin-Soares

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The Los Banos Unified School District Board is looking for a new representative after boardmember Megan Goin resigned, saying personal issues and a struggle to find affordable housing in her district led her to move out of the county.

The school district received Goin’s resignation letter on April 8, according to Superintendent Mark Marshall.

“I am no longer going to be living in the area that I was voted into by the constituency,” Goin states in her letter.

The letter was forwarded to the Merced County Office of Education, which accepted the letter on May 1.

“I definitely enjoyed my time on the board, the relationships I made,” Goin said Monday in a phone interview. “I appreciate how much work goes into every bit of the school district. The administrative side, facilities, it’s all done with extreme love.”

VS MeganGoinSoares
Vikaas Shanker

Goin missed several board meetings since November as she dealt with some personal matters and a struggle to find housing in Area 2, which she represented on the school board.

“I had a difficult pregnancy with limited ability to get around,” Goin said. “I was also looking for affordable housing in the city. In my district, it’s extremely difficult trying to find someplace to work that pays a living wage and affording to rent or buy.”

Goin said she moved around and split time between different locations before moving out of Merced County.

Goin was elected to her current term in the November 2016 elections in a landslide victory over incumbent and former Los Banos mayor Tommy Jones.

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Los Banos Unified School District Area 2 candidate Megan Goin-Soares speaks at the local 2016 candidate forum held by Merced College Los Banos Campus on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. vshanker@losbanosenterprise.com

Jones was arrested months before the election on allegations he and Merced area contractor Gregory Opinski bribed former board member Dominic Falasco for Falasco’s swing vote to hire Opinski as the construction manager for a multi-million dollar school expansion project.

Jones accepted a plea deal in February, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of aiding and abetting a school board member for becoming financially interested in a contract. In his statement, Jones said he gave Falasco $12,000, which was meant to be a bribe from Opinski. Opinski, in a plea deal, admitted to making the payment and pleaded guilty to a felony.

The case cast a shadow over a tumultuous school board that was deeply divided. Goin said she was most proud of being a part of a renewed school board that put differences aside, built good working relationships and moved forward.

“I just really think people should know at the district, they work really hard to make sure kids are getting the best education,” Goin said.

School board President Anthony Parreira said one of Goin’s strong traits as a board member was her tendency to put more thought in her decisions.

“Megan was an awesome board member,” Parreira said. “She knew her responsibilities and carried them through very well. ... I hate to see her leave the board.”

The school district has until June 30 to appoint a new member to serve Goin’s remaining term or order an election.

Area 2 is in north Los Banos and is bound by the north border of the city, Cabernet Street, Santa Barbara Street, North Mercey Springs Road, Dove Street, Fairmont Drive, Bentley Drive, Ashbury Court, Quail Street and Place Road.

Interested citizens can apply by getting an application form from the district office at 1717 S. 11th St., completing the application and submitting the application back to the office by noon on June 10.

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