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Back In Session
Toting new backpacks and lunchboxes, some entering the doors for the first time, students at all grade levels made their way to the various Escalon Unified School District campuses on Monday for opening day of the 2012-2013 school year.

"Our student attendance numbers yesterday were 2,808 and that is very close to the first day of last year," said EUSD Superintendent Ron Costa.

An unusual start to the school year last year saw a huge jump - about 60 students more - on Day 2, though Costa doesn't anticipate that type of increase. Overall, he said, enrollment is expected to be down by about 30 students from last year's numbers to this year.

Classes resumed at the elementary campuses of Collegeville, Dent, Farmington and Van Allen, in addition to El Portal Middle School and Escalon High. Also new this year, a Charter School Academy, being offered on three campuses, Collegeville, Dent and El Portal.

"That went better than expected, we were shooting for an enrollment of 20 students and yesterday we had 40," Costa said of the new charter option.

The only major administrative change to start the year is a new assistant principal at El Portal Middle School, with Michael Gaston taking over that position.

Four new teachers are in the district this year, in addition to one teacher brought back from a layoff and another moved back to fulltime from a part time slot.

"We are also still interviewing for two half-time teachers," said Costa.

A report on opening day was due at the school board meeting on Aug. 21, after the Times went to press, but Costa said it seemed to be a good one.

"The word I got from the sites, it was a very smooth opening day," he said.

Meanwhile, candidate filings have been completed for the November election, with five candidates on the ballot for the Nov. 6 race.

Incumbent Diane Gillispie Alcorn qualified for the ballot on July 26 and will face two challengers for her Trustee Area 3 seat. Mark George, a produce sales/farmer qualified for the ballot on Aug. 10 and bookkeeper/parent volunteer Amy Bavaro qualified on Aug. 8. The three will compete for the post.

In Trustee Area 4, incumbent Janai Stanton is being opposed by day care provider Martha Coelho. Stanton qualified for the ballot on July 20; Coelho was placed on the ballot as of Aug. 2.