Candidates respond to Dispatch Editorial Board questions

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Candidates respond to Dispatch Editorial Board questions

The Gilroy Dispatch Editorial Board sat down with the four
candidates for Gilroy Unified School District earlier this week. In
preparation for the meetings, the editorial board asked candidates
to provide written responses to six questions regarding education
in Gilroy. In this story, we present you those responses.
The Gilroy Dispatch Editorial Board sat down with the four candidates for Gilroy Unified School District earlier this week. In preparation for the meetings, the editorial board asked candidates to provide written responses to six questions regarding education in Gilroy. In this story, we present you those responses.

Their responses to each question are presented in alphabetical order of their last name.


1. Are you supporting Measure P, the $150 million Gilroy Unified School District facilities bond on the November ballot? If yes, why, and what are your priorities for the money? If not, why not, and how do you envision the future for GUSD facilities?

Rhoda Bress:

My support for Measure P came after researching all the possible ways to solve overcrowding, modernization, and maintenance needs in our school district.  Gilroy High was built for a population of 1800, and now houses over 2500 students. With elementary schools close to full capacity and developers waiting to build more houses once the real estate market is out of its slump, there will be a need for at least one, if not two, new elementary schools. There are unfunded projects on several sites that need to be completed, and aging facilities that need attention.

My current facility priorities are: completion of Christopher High School; acquisition of land for and construction of a new elementary school; and unfunded projects already identified as facility needs at Rucker, Rod Kelley, and Brownell Schools.  In addition, planning for projected student population growth in the upcoming years has to take place now, before it is too late to do the job properly.

Gilroy Unified’s enrollment increased by an average of 168 students per year for the past ten years, and in the current school year by about 300. Growth is a positive sign; it indicates that families find Gilroy a good community in which to raise children, and, from a budget perspective, it translates into increased operational dollars from the state because of increased attendance. We do not have to make painful decisions about school closures and program reductions because of declining growth, as many other school districts must do.  However, we do have to find viable solutions for housing students and delivering to them an educational experience in facilities conducive to learning and teaching.  GUSD has experienced significant academic success over the past few years, but improvement will be significantly hampered if teachers cannot teach to their full capabilities and students cannot learn to their full abilities in overcrowded classrooms.

Prior to the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, citizens were able to depend on the state for school facilities’ funding.  This is no longer the system under which public schools conduct business, and communities must prove that its citizens are willing to invest in their schools before qualifying for matching state funds.

Even after all the research and analysis of possible choices, turning to the taxpayers was a decision I did not take lightly during these difficult economic times. Three additional factors helped me reach my conclusion. First, the District has a proven track record of using taxpayers’ money generated from previous bond measures wisely.  Students and community members are reaping the benefits of many projects completed on time and on budget, including new schools, multi-purpose rooms, and libraries. 

Secondly, with improved test scores, new programs, and two Gilroy schools recognized as California Distinguished Schools, Gilroyans can be proud of this district’s academic improvement over the past few years.  Thirdly, though Measure P is a property tax, the end result for taxpayers will be a decrease in their tax bill.  Measure P, which will assess property at $60.00 per $100,000 of assessed value, will not take effect until Measure J, which is currently assessing property at $70.50 per $100,000, expires.

Schools are a good investment. They improve the quality of life, enhance property values, and make a community attractive to businesses and families.

Mark Good

Yes. The District is in dire financial condition and has a growing student population. The bond will not increase the amount currently paid in property taxes, as it will simply replace Measure J, which expires in 2011. My number one priority for use of the bond money would be to reduce debt.

Jaime Rosso

School District facilities bond on the November ballot? If yes, why, and what are your priorities for the money? If not, why not, and how do you envision the future for GUSD facilities?

Yes, I strongly support the Measure P School Facilities Bond, because the need is clear. Overcrowding is a serious problem for the district that becomes obvious to those who visit Gilroy schools. Overcrowding in the schools negatively impacts the district’s focused efforts and steady progress to improve student achievement. Overcrowding is not just a school board problem it is a community responsibility. Measure P is a win–win proposition. It will provide local facilities funding and at a reduced property tax rate. Local funding can be leveraged with matching state funding to complete Christopher High School and mitigate chronic overcrowding at Gilroy High School. Other priority needs for funding will be to address the problem of overcrowding and growth districtwide. As recently reported in the Dispatch GUSD school have added at least 325 this year alone , nearly half the population of an elementary school. Immediate steps need to be taken to address overcrowding issues at Las Animas, Rod Kelley, Luigi Aprea, Antonio Del Buono, Rucker and Solorsano Middle Schools. Additionally Measure P will not increase property tax rates. This is possible because the property tax impact will be mitigated by the fact that Measure P will not become effective until a prior school facility bond -Measure J sunsets in 2011. Only then will Measure P become effective and at a lower tax rate. This will be a win – win for taxpayers.



Fred Tovar

School District facilities bond on the November ballot? If yes, why, and what are your priorities for the money? If not, why not, and how do you envision the future for GUSD facilities?

As a citizen of Gilroy and a member of the 2008 Measure P school bond executive committee, I fully support Measure P and will continue to advocate for its passage.

One of Gilroy’s strongest assets has been the quality of our schools. However, many of our school buildings have not received the maintenance and renovation that they needed. The cost of not approving Measure P will be high for our students and our entire community. We have reached the point where the state of our school facilities is impacting the education of our students, and deteriorating schools will negatively impact our town as a whole. Further delays in addressing our school buildings will only lead to higher costs to fix this problem in the future.

Priorities:

1. Christopher High School

a. Full completion of CHS, in order to relieve overcrowding at Gilroy High School

b. Quality schools will enhance our community and have a great impact on Gilroy’s economic base

2. Modernization of all schools in Gilroy

a. Upgrading aging classrooms and labs with new technology, equipment, wiring and computers

b. Updating classrooms and technology for career, vocational and continuing education training programs

3. Look to build new elementary school

a. Due to overcrowding and increase in student population thru-out Gilroy

b. Renovation is not cost-effective when compared to the cost of a new, better-designed and (green) energy-efficient structure.

2. Do you believe career and technical training should be an integral part of the educational offerings in GUSD?

Rhoda Bress:

GUSD has made a commitment to career and technical training through its participation in the Regional Occupation Program (ROP) and its successful application for two state career path grants to be used at Gilroy and Christopher High Schools. I support this commitment but also understand that there are challenges to be acknowledged and addressed.

ROP courses offered at Gilroy High to students over 16 years of age can be used towards graduation credits, and many are University of California approved classes.  The range of classes is impressive and includes Animation & Digital Design, Automotive, Commercial Photography, Culinary Arts, Sports Medicine, and Veterinary Science.  There is evidence, according to Director David Matuszak, that students at risk of dropping out often choose to stay in school because ROP classes provide focus to their academic lives.

ROP, however, is not designed to meet the needs of the student who has chosen to go directly into the workforce after graduation. Though I want to provide equal opportunities for all students to pursue post-secondary education and increase the acceptance rate of Gilroy students to four-year colleges, I also recognize that not all students are the same nor can they be put in the same box. If we want to provide different options for students, then the current career and technical training program in our district will need to expand, and this will require a significant infusion of additional resources.

Currently, Gilroy High is one school of several, including Sobrato, Anzar, Live Oak, and San Benito High Schools and Gavilan College, under the auspices of  ROP – South. All classes are not offered at all sites.  For example, a student with an interest in animation design would be able to find a course to take at GHS and Sobrato High, but not at any of the other sites.  Different bell schedules and distances between schools prohibit the movement of students from one site to another. The current ROP’s purpose is not to complete training in a particular career upon graduation.  In fact, ROP’s most recent data confirms that 94% of students taking ROP classes at GHS continued on to post-secondary education and only 2% entered related employment. For the student at risk of dropping out of school, the current ROP structure is not adequate.

If ROP is a strategy to keep students in school, then the current age limit of 16 may be too old.  Middle school principals and teachers are trained to recognize at-risk students, and, with additional resources, ROP could reach out to students younger than 16 during and after school.

The number and range of ROP classes could expand with the two career grants recently received by the District and with the potential for new state grants in the future.  With the current grants, a biotechnology career path will be developed at GHS and a performing arts/digital animation at Christopher High. 

Career programs in our district are already benefiting from the generosity of the local business community, many of whom offer student internships during the school year and summer.  Meaningful internships require teachers to spend considerable time monitoring and evaluating student performance, and an expansion in internship programs will necessitate both additional business commitment and resources for staff time.

Mark Good

Absolutely. We must recognize that our students are individuals with different strengths and different needs. I have many friends working in the trades that make an extremely good living. We should also try to partner with business so that students can gain real world experience and potential job opportunities.

Jaime Rosso

Yes, I strongly support career and technical training opportunities for students. The district needs to continue to pursue multiple avenues to promote students success and reduce student dropout rates.

Fred Tovar

Yes, Students need to explore all options, and we should provide every child with as many options as possible. As school district we need to place the emphasis on providing opportunities for students to be in a position to make positive choices rather than having limited options, and an understanding that not every student heads off to college upon graduation from high school, and not every student graduates with a bachelor degree. However, I am convinced that all students will need some form of postsecondary training, be it technical, applied, or academic in nature. This will require a strong foundation in reading, writing, and mathematics to support future learning. A high school diploma is no longer sufficient to support a family, and as we prepare students for their future, we also need to provide programs in the arts, athletics, community service, and leadership. We should want our Gilroy graduates to be well prepared for the economic future they will face and to have the skills necessary to become a contributing member of our society.



3. Our dropout rate in GUSD has been marked at about 26 percent. Are there some strategies you would advocate as a trustee to reduce that number, and what would be an acceptable number?

Rhoda Bress:

One lost student is too many.

The first step towards finding solutions is to identify the problem; students are individuals, and the reasons why a student is at risk of dropping out of school or has already dropped out can vary. In some cases, classes may be too challenging.  In other cases, they may be not challenging enough.  Factors, such as the home situation or a student’s emotional well-being, may be putting the child at risk. Counselors and teachers are and must continue to be properly trained to recognize danger signals and determine causes. Families must take responsibility when a child’s behavior suggests there are problems to be addressed.

There are instances where the solution can be found right on the school site by changing students to classrooms and programs that better meet their needs.  In other cases, a transfer to an alternative program may be the answer, and GUSD has invested a lot in such programs, including Mt. Madonna Continuation High School, Independent Study, Community Day School and Advanced Path.  We must find the learning program that matches the student’s needs and ensure that proper placement happens in a timely way.

The District’s alternative programs collectively offer flexible class scheduling, individualized instruction, student counseling, and family outreach.  The number of students who have gone on to pass the California Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and graduate is proof that GUSD is having some success addressing the dropout problem.  We must continue to support the teachers and staff who have chosen to work with students who are at high risk of failing academically through meaningful professional development and adequate classroom support.

Our current programs need to be evaluated on a regular basis for their effectiveness, and strategies not working must be eliminated or replaced.  In addition, social service agencies and outside intervention for the student and family are often required. The District is, and needs to continue to be, kept up-to-date, on all the outside services available and to communicate that information to the relevant people at the different sites.

Career and technical training programs, as well as internships within the community, can engage students and provide focus to their academic lives. With additional resources, we could expand the district’s Regional Occupation Program and provide more internships.

However, as Ben Franklin stated, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  By the time a student enters high school or even middle school, it may be too late. An enriching and quality early childhood education experience and early literacy programs will provide students with the skills to be successful from the moment they enter kindergarten.           

One of the most important indicators for a student’s ultimate success is family involvement.  Through the school district, social agencies, and community organizations, parents need to be educated on how they can promote literacy and good study habits in their children and how they can be engaged in the education system.

No child should be afraid to go to school. Gilroy’s schools are safe due to the efforts of many both in and outside of the district. Certain programs, such as Character Counts, which is being piloted at Glen View School this year, promote honesty and responsibility.  If successful, I would support expanding this program to other sites.

Mark Good

Are there some strategies you would advocate as a trustee to reduce that number, and what would be an acceptable number?

To reduce the dropout rate we first need to understand why students are dropping out. According to District staff, no studies have been conducted examining this issue. That should be a top priority for the Board. I don’t believe that there is an “acceptable” number for a dropout rate, other than zero.

Jaime Rosso

Any number of dropouts is unacceptable. GUSD is working to address the dropout problem in many ways, however we need to accelerate measures to of address student needs. Improving student achievement and success and getting students to grade level proficiency will go a long way to mitigating the dropout rates. GUSD is making steady progress in this regard. Providing meaningful and successful alternatives for students such as Advanced Path, TJ Owens Gilroy Early College, Mt. Madonna High, Cesar Chavez El Portal Leadership Academy are opportunities that our District provides for students. With a focus on providing quality instruction to promote improved student achievement and success at Gilroy High, and at the soon to be opened, Christopher High, there are many measures being taken to address student needs and reduce student dropouts. Additionally, I will advocate for more focus on career and technical training opportunities to help reduce the dropout rates.

Fred Tovar

Are there some strategies you would advocate as a trustee to reduce that number, and what would be an acceptable number?

As API test scores go up, and student enrollment continues to increase, many more Gilroy students are dropping out, and this is unacceptable. As the pool of dropouts continues to grow, employment opportunities for those individuals are very limited, because today’s economy requires more education, enhanced technological skills, and lifelong learning. Now is the time for the Gilroy Unified School District to make dropout prevention a top priority, and eliminate the drop-out rate completely. There is NO acceptable number when it comes to students dropping out.

Strategies:

1. Early intervention

a. Family engagement. Parents play a crucial role in keeping young people in school

b. Early childhood education. Provide the best possible learning environment from the very beginning of a child’s school experiences.

2. Continue to recruit and retain high-quality teachers.

a. Teachers engage students, stimulate imagination, and can raise student performance.

b. Train teachers to indentify and work with at-risk students

3. Continue to expand career and technical education program and choices.

a. Specific skills can help prepare students to measure up to the larger demands of today’s workplace.

b. Work with students, parents, teachers, businesses, and community to develop specific programs of interest

4. School-Community Collaboration/ Safe learning environment.

a. Community groups can provide collective support to schools.

b. A safe learning environment can enhances positive social attitudes and effective interpersonal skills

4. If elected, what would be your top three priorities and why?

Rhoda Bress:

1. Academic Excellence

Academic excellence is both my top priority and my vision for the Gilroy Unified School District.  With rigorous classroom experiences and equal opportunities for excellence, Gilroy graduates will leave with the skills needed to be successful in college and in the work force. 

The highest standards must be set for all factors impacting student achievement, especially those closest to the classroom.  These include curriculum, instructional materials, adequate supplies, teachers, teacher support, student preparedness and conduct, parent involvement and support, academic culture, student wellness, and professional development.  Everyone involved in the education of our students – teachers, parents, administrators, classified staff, paraprofessionals, school board trustees, and students themselves – must be held accountable.

2. Impacts of No Child Left Behind

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is the federal act which reflects this nation’s commitment to a standards-based curriculum and has been heralded as a way to help disadvantaged children in underperforming schools.  It has become the driving force in public school education. Though its underlying premise is a worthy one, there are unintended consequences that need to be addressed.

NCLB is an unfunded mandate.  District dollars are stretched thin by the efforts that are needed to comply with NCLB’ s requirements and goals of making all students proficient in math and language arts by 2014.

Growth is not rewarded under NCLB, and a school may find itself in “Program Improvement,” as has happened to several Gilroy schools even though they have had considerable improvement in their standardized test results.  Under NCLB, parents are given the option to transfer to a school in a district that is not in program improvement.  One of the most dramatic results of this has been that many families have chosen to move their students to Solorsano Middle School, resulting in a very crowded middle school and staff at the other sites making every effort not to be demoralized by transfers. The District had to pay for additional portable classrooms to accommodate the transfers, using funds that could have been spent elsewhere. 

NCLB has also had a major impact on actual instruction.  With only so many school days and only so many hours in the school day, there is little flexibility in the daily schedule. There is insufficient time for other important areas of the curriculum, such as physical education, music and science.  I believe in teaching to the whole child, and NCLB has made this more difficult to achieve.

3. Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Quality instruction remains the key to student success, and no group is more important to our schools than our teachers.  The rest of us have important jobs, but our purpose is to ensure that the teacher is provided every opportunity to do his/her job, namely teach.  Over the past few years, the district has shown in many ways how much it values its teaching staff and those who support them, but teaching remains a comparatively low-paying job for a college graduate. We must continue to find ways to make GUSD a district of choice for teachers and improve salaries and benefits  

Of great alarm is the number of teachers nearing retirement, and the great need there will be in the upcoming years to replace them.  We are already experiencing difficulties in hiring qualified staff in certain areas, such as special education, math and science. As a society, we need to find ways to make teaching a more attractive profession.  In Gilroy, we need to both retain teachers who have chosen GUSD and “grow” teachers within our own community by exploring strategies that will attract students to the teaching profession.

Mark Good

Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability

The District cannot continue spending money that it doesn’t have. The District needs to make better decisions with its limited resources, and carefully review all contracts. It also needs to maximize the dollars spent so that every dollar is directly relevant to educating our children.

Recommitment to Music and the Arts

Cuts in funding to our music programs at elementary and middle schools are short sighted. We must educate the entire child, which includes exposure to the arts. It is well documented that children involved in music do better in academic subjects and in addition, have higher self esteem. Music should not be considered a “luxury” item in education, but rather a staple, like mathematics and English.

Enhanced Vocational Training Opportunities at High School

We must provide the opportunity for every student to go to college or to obtain relevant career and technical training. This training needs to that which can be immediately put to use in the workforce, or used to build upon for additional vocational training. Focusing narrowly on all students transferring to a four year college misses a large number of the students.

Jaime Rosso

The three top priorities would be to maintain the district focus on improving student achievement for all students , prioritize board focus on closing the achievement gap. Finally to insure a successful implementation of the GUSD Long Term Facilities Master plan including the successful opening of Christopher High , while assuring and maintaining instructional program equity with Gilroy High.

Fred Tovar

1. Students First – Student Achievement – Work with the entire community to introduce an innovative initiative designed to designed to increase student academic achievement, and help eliminate the drop-out rate. Continue a commitment to quality education, so that the future of our children is always the number one priority. We need to continue to work to ensure that every student reaches their highest potential, as well as working to improve the achievement of students who are underperforming.

2. Financial Sustainability and Accountability – Examine and safeguard the district’s budget and expenditure patterns to prevent unexpected surprises and sudden program cuts that will affect all students. I will also fight to protect taxpayers by expecting high financial standards from district administrators and demanding the efficient use of any bond funds.

3. Great Teachers Can Change Lives – They engage students, stimulate imagination, and raise performance. One of the Board’s prime responsibilities is to attract and retain excellent teachers. I am committed to recruiting and retaining qualified teachers and administrators to ensure academic excellence for all students. I’m also committed to making sure that our school employee’s are well-compensated and have a good environment in which to teach. A system of accountability would help to identify those who excel. We must provide incentives for teachers. Professional development, as well as school and community service, should be rewarded.

5. Describe what you think should be the relationship between Board members and the superintendent in terms of roles.

Rhoda Bress:

The superintendent and the school board together are the Governance Team, but in order for that team to function effectively and efficiently they each must have clearly defined roles. There also needs to be clarity amongst board members regarding their collective and individual interactions with the superintendent.

With some exceptions, the superintendent is in charge of all administrative responsibilities in the district.  Those exceptions can be found in board policies and include the conducting of public hearings and board meetings by the board’s president and the approval of board agendas by the entire board.

Simply put, the school board decides the “what” of a district, and the superintendent is in charge of the “how.”  The superintendent translates into action the school board’s goals, and her evaluation done by the entire school board is based, to a considerable extent, on how well those goals are being implemented. 

It is critical for the board to set clear expectations of its superintendent.  For example, the current board established six long-range goals for the district in the areas of student achievement, facilities, safety, human resources, and budget. Together with the superintendent, the board developed an evaluation process at an open board meeting, and the result clearly links the superintendent’s work to progress on achieving the board’s goals.

In addition to the evaluation process, the board uses other strategies to hold the superintendent responsible for the implementation of its goals, such as action or consensus at a board meeting. As the district’s educational leader, the superintendent is responsible for keeping the board informed about academic progress in the district and advising the board about policies and administrative regulations impacting student achievement, district operations and emerging issues.  In addition, the superintendent is the liaison between the board and the rest of the district’s staff.

No individual board member has the authority to give direction to the superintendent unless agreed upon by all the other board members.  A well-run school board clearly understands and accepts that direction comes from the full board.

The relationship between the board and the superintendent is also one of employer and employee.  The superintendent is the only employee in the district that the board hires and evaluates, and best business practices should be used to foster a good relationship, such as meaningful evaluations that give clear direction, knowledge of the superintendent’s workload and schedule, and issues that are impacting the superintendent’s ability to implement the board’s goals.  Like any good working relationship, both sides should strive for good communication, a shared vision, and honesty and integrity when interacting with each other. A superintendent who earns trust from board members is one who treats every trustee equally.

A major difference between the superintendent and school board members is the manner in which they came to their position; the board appoints the superintendent, but board members are elected officials representing the public’s interests.  A good superintendent listens carefully to the kind of information board members convey about the community’s concerns.

Mark Good

Board members and the superintendent in terms of roles.

The Board and Superintendent should work together as a team, with the Board setting general terms and guidelines, and the Superintendent carrying out the direction of the Board. The Board must be responsible for each decision which impacts the budget.

Jaime Rosso

Board members and the superintendent in terms of roles.

The role of the Board is to work collaboratively with the Superintendent to formulate the vision and establish the District priorities, goals and establish district policy. The Superintendent however is accountable to the Board. The Board is responsible and accountable to assure that the Superintendent implements the districts priorities , goals and policies. 

6. What makes you unique as a school board candidate?

I am the most experienced board member with a proven track record for service. I have maintained a strong commitment and enthusiasm to improve public education for all students. I make the time to visit schools and listen to concerns by all stakeholders. I am supportive and collaborative with fellow board members, parents, staff and students. I am a creative problem solver, decisive and focused on getting results. I am an effective advocate for Gilroy public schools.

Fred Tovar

Board members and the superintendent in terms of roles.

The Board and the Superintendent shall work together as a team, and they shall establish protocols that describe how the governance team will operate. Together, the board and superintendent shall reach clear understanding on what the community demands and what is expected for its future through the education of its children. A strong board-superintendent relationship can help raise achievement through-out the district. It is also the duty of each board member to work in partnership with school administration, principals, teachers, staff and parents, to ensure that all students receive a high quality education.

6. What makes you unique as a school board candidate?

Rhoda Bress:

My roots are in the academic reform movement and in parent clubs.

I was a parent in the school district from 1986-2006 and brought my concerns about the quality of education in GUSD to the previous school board.  Major changes as a result of my advocacy included the reinstitution of an Honors Program at Gilroy High School, the adoption of a state-approved language arts curriculum at Gilroy High School, and the creation of a College and Career Center.

In January 2003, I co-authored and presented to the School Board a Position Paper from The Alliance For Academic Excellence, an ad hoc organization of parents, teachers, and community members that advocated for academic reform at the high school.  The Alliance called upon the School Board to focus its attention on serious classroom issues.

The response from some school board members was suspicion, hostility, and disdain.  Many people urged me to continue to challenge the status quo, and thought the best way I could make demands on the school board to deliver an educational product that allows all children to meet their full academic potential was to become a school board member.

At the same time as I was working for academic reform, I remained active at the sites through parent clubs, school site councils, and other district committees. When I was parent at Gilroy High, I worked with others to establish a parent club on the site.  I served on five parent club boards and can proudly state that I have been both a Parent Club President and a School Board President.

Though I am one of seven equal board members, the leadership roles I have been selected to do by the rest of the board have resulted in some additional responsibilities and a unique perspective on school board governance.  In 2007, I served as Vice-president and am serving in 2008 as President.   As President, I have formed strong bonds with city government and civic groups and rallied them behind our causes.

As a school board member, I have taken on a leadership role in several important issues, and one that I am closely associated with is student wellness. Childhood obesity rates are at epidemic rates.  It is imperative that school districts do what they can to instill healthy habits in children for many reasons, including the well-established link between good health and learning.  I worked with others to develop GUSD’s Student Wellness Policy and currently serve as the Board representative on the District Health Council.  In 2006, I received the South County Collaborative Community Nutrition and Health Award for “excellence in improving the nutrition, health and fitness of the community.”

Mark Good

As a former member of the school board, I am familiar with general procedures at the District and could hit the ground running. Having been in local law enforcement for twenty years has given me insight on the particular problems facing our youth and our schools. All four of my children have been through the Gilroy Unified Schools, and my wife Pat and I have been active in the PTA and many other school activities. Finally, my experience as an attorney allows me to parse though difficult contracts and understand the relevance of signing a contract and knowing the bottom line in terms of how it will affect the District.

Jaime Rosso

I am the most experienced board member with a proven track record for service. I have maintained a strong commitment and enthusiasm to improve public education for all students. I make the time to visit schools and listen to concerns by all stakeholders. I am supportive and collaborative with fellow board members, parents, staff and students. I am a creative problem solver, decisive and focused on getting results. I am an effective advocate for Gilroy public schools.

Fred Tovar

As a Stanford University educator, administrator, and former college trustee, I have contributed new ideas, advocated for educational improvements and proven myself to be a problem solver who follows through on initiatives which benefit all students. My leadership style as a good listener and communicator, accessible to the community, will provide improved communication between the school board and the public. I will ensure that our children are provided the opportunity to compete on a global level via the educational opportunities they deserve. I also believe it’s time to take a closer look inside our classrooms, because academic excellence for every child must be the primary focus of our public schools. I would pursue a top-to-bottom review and refinement of the curriculum to strengthen its effectiveness and prepare every student to move smoothly from elementary school, to middle school, to high school and beyond, whether that be a vocational trade, community college or university.

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