3 vie for 2 spots on board of education | TheUnion.com
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3 vie for 2 spots on board of education

Three candidates – including two incumbents – are vying for two seats on the county board of education, a group that oversees numerous county-level school programs and advises the area’s 10 school boards.

“The primary function of the county board is to review and approve the superintendent’s annual budget and to act as an appellate for inter-district transfers and expulsions,” explained Trustee Bob Altieri.

As schools cut budgets, they increasingly rely on the county’s services – including special education and the 3R Community Day School for students with behavioral problems, and management search services.



The five-member Nevada County Board of Education meets monthly.

Q: As a member of the Nevada County Board of Education, what would you do to help schools address declining enrollment and uncertain funding from the state?




Bob Altieri: While each school district board operates independently, the role of the county board is to remain informed and provide knowledgeable oversight on issues that affect school districts and education, such as declining enrollment and reduced state funding.

Declining enrollment combined with uncertainties in state funding is a complex problem facing all public schools in California. Locally, we support our school districts by providing guidance and financial oversight in the preparation of their respective budgets.

Trevor Michael: The Board of Education should, where possible, facilitate discussions on cooperation and resource sharing among the county school districts and the Superintendent of Schools offices.

This could include ideas such as personnel sharing and consolidated services.

Other new and innovative ideas will be needed as overall school enrollment continues to decline in the medium term. Also important will be continued and enhanced attention to helping students (and informing their parents) on how important it is to attend school every day.

Marianne Slade-Troutman: Nevada County Schools must continue to maintain high academic standards, attract quality teachers and work closely with the business community to attract and maintain employers and their employees. It is critical that the educational community work closely with the business community to respond to their needs through retraining classes and producing quality graduates.

The Nevada County Board of Education years ago approved the Muir Charter School, which is a statewide charter school serving inner city at-risk youth. The county office provides business operations and oversight.

For these services, Nevada County schools reap hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, which are being used to help our office and the districts survive during these difficult times. It is creative ventures like this that we must continue to explore so that Nevada County youth do not see a reduction in school services.

Q: How are Nevada County schools performing in standardized tests? Based on the scores, what are two or three areas local schools should address immediately?

Bob Altieri: Regarding standardized testing, Nevada County students continue to perform well above state average. This year, we saw a slight decrease in scores in math and science.

In reaction to this decline, the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office has placed an emphasis on math articulation countywide and is working with school staff on strategies to improve student performance in this area, including analyzing student data and helping to create professional learning communities for teachers to work together.

Marianne Slade-Troutman: Nevada County schools should be proud of their academic excellence. Our STAR test scores are among the highest in the state, but we must not rest on our laurels.

In order to assist our students and schools, we must partner with business and our ROP programs to immediately assist our struggling business community, we must continue to apply for more grants to bring in public and private funds, and we must explore all avenues of cost reduction including joint administrations, and school/district consolidation.

Trevor Michael: Nevada County school districts have mostly satisfactory STAR test results; some schools have excellent results.

Two schools in separate districts are this year designated by California to need Program Improvement. Others are at risk.

The Board of Education should make provisions for providing technical assistance and information to these schools and coordinating resources to economize budgets.

Three areas that require immediate and ongoing attention:

• Budget and cash flow issues in some districts

• Student behavior and learning environment improvements in some districts, including alternative schools/student support

• Continuing improvement county-wide infrastructure for preschool preparation and workforce transition for graduating seniors.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail mrindels@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4247.

• Age: 66

Education:

• BS in electrical engineering, Indiana Institute of Technology

• MBA, California State University

Experience:

• Four consecutive terms on the Nevada County Board of Education

• Certified business appraiser

• CEO and founder, Leapfrog Software Inc. (Retired)

• Past instructor, University of Phoenix, San Jose City College and Sierra College

Age: 75

Education:

• High school diploma, Wellesley, Mass.

Experience:

• Board of education trustee since 1980

• Mother of three; grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Nevada County schools

• Volunteer at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (9 years)

• Historical Landmarks Board of Directors (9 years)

• Nevada County Business Association staff member

• Producer and host of local TV program, “Hometown USA” (12 years

• FREED volunteer fundraiser

Age: 45

Education:

• BS in electrical engineering, University of Florida

• MS in computer engineering, California State University, San Jose

Experience:

• Business owner in Nevada County for 12 years

• Father of two students currently enrolled in Nevada County schools

• Member of the Parent Teacher Council


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