CONCORD -- Mt. Diablo school board candidate Ernie DeTrinidad has announced he is dropping out of the race and endorsing challengers Debra Mason and Barbara Oaks.

"In order to bolster our opportunity to achieve positive change, I have decided to withdraw from candidacy for school board," DeTrinidad said in a prepared statement. "This is a most difficult decision, but one I make in the best interest of our students."

DeTrinidad's name will still appear on the ballot and he would still be elected if he receives enough votes in the race for two open seats, according to the county elections office. The other candidates are Mason, Oaks, incumbent Sherry Whitmarsh and challenger Brian Lawrence.

"It is critical for residents to elect new members," DeTrinidad said, "members with new ideas, solutions and, most important, new approaches."

To read his complete statement, visit the On Assignment blog at www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment.