Light early turnout in Montclair

Montclair City Councilman Bill Ruh reported his light-turnout experience in an e-mail to Joe Blackstock, Daily Bulletin assistant city editor.

Councilman Ruh went to his Montclair polling place at 7:30, half an hour after the polls opened, yet was the first voter to show up there.

“How sad that more people had not yet taken advantage of the privilege of voting,” Ruh noted. Electing members of the Chaffey Community College Distrist’s board was the only item on his ballot, but “… the future of education in our valley is important,” Ruh wrote. “How I wish more people would take this seriously.”

Where is everybody?

For November’s presidential election, I arrived at my Upland polling place about 10 minutes before it opened and lined up behind 50 voters waiting to mark their ballots.

This morning, I arrived about 10 minutes after the polls opened and was the very first voter. It was a kick being the voter asked to look inside the ballot box and verify that it was empty, but it was disappointing to see how few people bother with a local election. The only thing on my ballot was choosing two members of the Chaffey Community College District Governing Board.

That’s actually quite important, in my view. Half the people you talk to around here attended Chaffey College at one time or another, and a good number of our offspring will get their educations there. I should think people would want to make sure that the college, which trains a sizable portion of the Inland Valley work force, has competent leadership.

— Mike Brossart

John Avila, Pomona Unified incumbent

Having retired from PUSD after a long career, I am able to devote full time to being a School Board Member. My wife, Dona, and I have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. Dona is a retired PUSD Art Teacher; all of our children have college degrees. Our family places a high value on education.

My education includes a BA from the University of Northern Colorado, a<WC>n<WC1> MS from Cal State University LA, an Administrative Credential from Claremont Graduate School, and Doctorial Studies in School Management at the University of La Verne.
My career experience and community involvement are great assets to me as a Board Member.

I served as a teacher at Emerson Middle School, Pomona High and Garey High and was the Principal at Allison, Barfield, and Kellogg Elementary Schools. I was an Administrator with Intergroup Education and then Adult and Career Education.
I was elected to the School Board in 2001 and re-elected in 2005, serving as Board President in 2004, 2005, and 2008.

I have served as President or Chairman of several groups: PACE, the YMCA, Breakfast Optimists, Community Senior Services and the St.<WC> <WC1>Madeline’s Parents Guild. I have been a member of Youth Employment Services, the Pomona Chamber of Commerce Education and EXPO Committees, the Pomona Charter Review and Sister Cities Committees, TelePal, Friends of the Band, Friends of the Library, CTA, NEA, APT, and ACSA.

Awards I have received include the PTA Honorary Life Membership, Optimists Friend of Youth, Educator of the Year, Who’s Who in Education, and Newsletter of the Year. I served in the military in the USMCR.

Our Schools made great progress over the last several years.

Superintendent Melendez guided our schools toward greater academic achievement and helped direct great strides in community engagement and involvement.

Despite State financial cuts, we maintained District Arts and Athletic programs, continuing our pursuit of excellence.

This progress was made possible only by the cooperative efforts of the School Board, Administration, Teachers, Classified Employees, and Parents.

My goal is to continue this team effort to ensure that our School District improves on the progress we have made to recruit, train, and retain the best Teachers and Administrators available to manage our classrooms and schools. We need to build on our successes.
We know what succeeds, and we cannot afford to go backwards when our goals are in the future.

John Avila

Adrienne Konigar-Macklin, Pomona Unified incumbent

First, every child has the right to succeed and we must keep the needs of our students first. Pomona School District has made tremendous strides; increasing test scores, partnering with businesses, developing trade career paths and increasing our educational offerings. The November passage of School Bond Measure PS made possible the refurbishment of many schools this summer and air conditioning of our oldest school, Lincoln Elementary. Innovative educational programs have been created and schools have been reconfigured to meet the needs of students and parents. As a Board, we have worked collaboratively to eliminate waste and demand fiscal accountability. We have also worked to create greater transparency within the District. For the first time, we held community forums to receive input on the selection of a new Superintendent and we have created a community budget committee to provide input on the District’s budget and fiscal priorities.

Second, although we have accomplished many things, the work before us is not without challenges. As the State struggles to balance its budget, unfortunately school districts, which are reliant on the State for funding, have been subjected to unprecedented cuts that appear to continue. Since 2008, PUSD has lost approximately $49 million dollars, and while we managed to avoid massive cuts by using one-time federal funding to save the jobs of teachers and support personnel, next year promises to be fiscally difficult. It is imperative that we let our voices be heard in Sacramento and ask our legislators to make education a priority. We also need to explore new and inventive funding sources that allow us to maintain and create educational programs in PUSD that will allow our students to excel and are attractive to parents.

Third, reducing the dropout rate, keeping teachers and support personnel, closing the achievement gap, having safe schools, reasonable class sizes, and maintaining art and athletic programs are all important to the success of our District. It is now more important than ever to maintain stability and continuity in the District.

Finally, as a school law attorney for over 22 years and an active parent in community and school district activities, My experience and commitment to the children of PUSD will assist me in continuing to serving our District well. I believe that I have worked to make a positive difference in the lives of PUSD students. Working together, we can continue to build on our successes.

Adrienne Konigar-Macklin

Hank Mollet, Pomona Unified challenger

Education is about opportunity. Our students have the opportunity to learn how to think and to grow into productive members of our community.

Teachers, administrators, and support personnel need to be provided the respect that comes with their great responsibility to provide that opportunity. We must seek the input of parents, other community members, and the students in maintaining and improving upon the great work that has already begun to create the best opportunity for the wonderful diversity that forms our communities.

The Pomona Unified employees persevered in the face of a massive lay-off that was, thankfully, rescinded. The employees, students, and parents of Pomona and Diamond Bar deserve a board that will not make hasty decisions that harm the students and employees of the district. We deserve a board that will ensure that the various people involved in the educational process are included in the decision making process. We need a board that will support the opportunity that school provides and ensures the respect that everyone deserves.

As a teacher, I know the issues surrounding education and am able to ask questions about the budget and programs of the district and understand them from an educational perspective. As a parent, I want to ensure that every child has the best opportunity to succeed. As a community member, I want to promote Pomona and Diamond Bar by providing the best trained students who will be ready to jump into whatever career or college they want to attend.

I have been endorsed by the teachers, the AFL-CIO, and the Pomona Valley Democratic Club. Please join them in supporting my campaign, and vote Hank Mollet on Nov. 3.

Hank Mollet

Helen M. Hall, Walnut Valley Unified incumbent

Because of my strong commitment to quality education, I am seeking re-election to the Board of Trustees. My sixth term as a Walnut Valley Unified District board member has allowed me to be an advocate for the student and to contribute too many of the district’s outstanding accomplishments. I am especially proud of my shared achievements with the WVUSD:
– California Distinguished Schools
– 98 percent graduation rates
– International Baccalaureate Program at Walnut and Diamond Bar High Schools
– Diamond Bar High Calculus ranked No. 1 in the nation
– API scores above 800 for all schools in the WVUSD
– Exceptional Performing Arts and Athletics Programs
– Prodigious achievements in Math and Science
– Continue to keep the district fiscally sound during the current state budget crisis
– Diamond Bar High and Walnut High School ranked top schools in the nation

Background: Employed as Information Systems Manager for City of Fullerton, Board Member, School District 1985 to Present, California School Boards Association 1985 to present, Delegate Assembly Representative for California School Board 1998 to present, Government Relations Chairman for California School Board 1999 to present, Board Representative R.O.P. 1998 to present.

I believe all students can learn. It is my commitment and challenge to continue to strive for improvement in community involvement, communication, school safety, and greater opportunities for all students. It is the district’s vision, and my personal commitment, that our measure of success will be graduating seniors who are sensitive, culturally aware, and 100 percent literate.
Helen M. Hall
Diamond Bar

Cindy Ruiz, Walnut Valley Unified incumbent

As your School Board Member, it has been my honor and privilege to serve you. These past eight years have allowed me to advocate for a quality education, safe schools, and accountability to parents, even as we continue to face a challenging budget with revenue cuts due to the state’s financial crisis.

Proudly sharing District’s accomplishments:
– National Blue Ribbon Schools
– California Distinguished Schools
– Top AP Calculus Program, Diamond Bar HS
– Top International Baccalaureate Program, Walnut HS
– Walnut and Diamond Bar HS recognized as country’s top schools in Newsweek Magazine
– Primary Years International Baccalaureate Elementary School programs
– All schools exceed State API scores of 800 with 8 exceeding 900
– Superior rated Performing Arts and Athletic Programs
– New construction at all schools
– 21st Century Technology Master Plan
– Responsibly managed district budget even during state financial crisis.

Parent of Walnut HS student and graduate, spouse Diamond Bar teacher, community homeowner 21 years, real estate agent, Walnut Valley Educational Foundation Director, Masters in Governance graduate, past Board President, Vice-President, and current Board Clerk, Walnut Chamber Citizen of the Year 2002 and Volunteer of the Year 2005-2006, Regional Chamber of Commerce-San Gabriel Valley Chairman’s Award 2007 and 2008, Mentor and Lead Volunteer for the American Cancer Society, ESGVU-Walnut Relay For Life.

My Belief — All students have the right to a quality education. My Vision — Prepare all students to compete in a global society with 21st Century skills. My Commitment — Excellence, integrity, accountability, safe schools, balanced budget and honest government.

Vote Cindy Ruiz.
Cindy Ruiz
West Covina

John Mendoza, Mt. San Antonio College challenger

Several years ago when then Gov. Gray Davis was being recalled by voters of California an angry board member of Mt. San Antonio Community College echoed the thoughts in a board meeting to the public that Davis must be taught a lesson and be punished for taking so-called funds away from community colleges in California. Now several years later as California faces a much greater economic, social, and education crisis the bashing of the governor has ceased among the same board member even though the crisis in education has gotten worst. Mt. SAC Board of Trustees needs a strong voice which will be tireless in demanding that those in Sacramento must cease in taking revenue from community colleges. Mt. SAC can go the extra mile in gaining funds if the Board of Trustees members partnership with all area legislators and not just a selected few.

The crisis in California has created massive unemployment not witnessed since the Great Depression. Workers within the district along with students in the district which includes cities such as Diamond Bar, Pomona, Hacienda Heights, Baldwin Park and several other cities as far as La Puente in the west are in dire need to be retrained for new jobs. The voters in the past have given the green light for Board members to pass bond measures to modernize the college. “But” many students in the district have not attended the college because of the classroom overflows. In a recent study conducted by the Los Angeles County Office of Education it was concluded that many cities outside the district have increased in student enrollment while many cities in the district such as Pomona have remained the same. The Mt. SAC Board needs leadership which is accountable to the public and cities in the district. A partnership needs to be developed among all educational institutions in the district that give each stakeholder a say on how to share the resources at Mt. SAC to increase enrollment. What the pubic does not need is just another ad hoc committee with no binding vote and another student unable to attend the college. Chaffey College has a satellite college in many cities in their district.

Much has been accomplished at Mt. SAC to make it one of the best community colleges in the state of California. Now is the time has to make sure that every student and community members in the district get their fair share of the educational opportunities available at Mt. SAC.
John Mendoza

Nancy Matarrita, Pomona Unified challenger, 2-year term

I am Nancy Matarrita, the students’ voice, the parents’ choice for Pomona School Board.
I live, work, shop, play, worship and serve in Pomona, with one question always in mind, “Will this help improve the lives of Pomona youth?”

Pomona needs a proven advocate on the school board, dedicated to promoting the success of our children. With your support and vote, I can be that board member.

Dropout rates must be reduced. An extensive 2005 survey of 4,000 Pomona students showed that too many felt like academic failures. This perception can change as each student learns to be successful at something. I will encourage personnel to build on students’ strengths, to work with parents and community partners to expand educational experiences during and afterschool, and to reprogram our secondary schools to include wider opportunities to earn vocational certificates.

The safety of our students is imperative. I’ll encourage pro-active prevention of criminal behavior and truancy through revamped safety procedures emphasizing training and technology, and through character and attitude re-shaping utilizing Youth and Family Master Plan programs.

Resources are scarce. I will be creative, open and strategic while seeking solutions to funding problems and to the efficient utilization of excess facilities.

Qualifications/ Community Involvement:
BA — Economics/Political Science, Claremont McKenna College
Former — Communications/Marketing Director-Non-profit, Pomona business owner, tax-preparer, PUSD substitute teacher, Daily Bulletin Columnist, Pomona YMCA Gymnastics coach, Scout leader, Tutor, Moose Youth Awareness Chairman.
Current — Global Impact Administrative Assistant-Pomona First Baptist, Computer Instructor/Library Assistant-Pomona Library, Director-Inland Empire Credit Union, Officer-Pomona Women of the Moose, Member-Youth and Family Master Plan Community Board, Co-Facilitator-Active Community Empowerment Task Force, Merit Badge Counselor, Youth Basketball Program Coordinator-PFB, SAP, Strengthening Families and OJJDP gang prevention trained.

Mothers are innovators, problem-solvers, peacemakers, financial whizzes, teachers, team players, managers, entrepreneurs, administrators, highly skilled in negotiating, conflict resolution and crisis management. As mother of four wonderful bundles of potential, with about 20 years experience as a PUSD parent, I served on site councils at Alcott, Simons and Garey, and was Garey Parent of the Year.

With three now in college, with part-time jobs, I know what it takes for young people to survive and thrive in Pomona. I offer a positive vision, with practical solutions and innovative ideas, backed by hands-on experience, in board governance, in community involvement, and in education.

This uniquely qualifies me to serve you and your children on the Pomona School Board. Please elect Nancy Matarrita.

Nancy Matarrita

Andrew Wong, Pomona Unified incumbent

Andrew Wong is the President of the Pomona Unified School Board.

Four years ago, he promised to find ways for our kids to receive a well-rounded education. He promised to keep a close eye on District spending and cut any waste. And he promised to do everything possible to keep our kids safe at school.

And over the past four years, that’s exactly what he’s done.

He brought in Superintendent Thelma Melendez, who has done an excellent job, but unfortunately is leaving to join President Obama’s Administration. Andrew is committed to making sure her replacement is every bit as capable.

He’s approved new Math and Science programs. He helped bring in new athletic fields to our campuses. And he’s been a strong promoter of arts and music education.
He has led the charge to root out wasteful spending everywhere he’s found it. And over these last four years, he has saved the District tens of thousands of dollars because of his watchful eye.

Always committed to making sure our kids learn in a safe environment, Andrew helped re-write the District’s school volunteer fingerprinting policy ensuring no one who might do harm to our students ever gets on campus.

Re-Elect Andrew Wong.

Andrew Wong
Diamond Bar