We begin our June primary election coverage with the race for the 4th trustee district for the Riverside County Board of Education, which includes the Idyllwild area.
Contending for a full four-year term are Bruce Dennis, appointed last June to the board, and challenger Bill Gould. Dennis is postmaster for the city of Walnut and lives in Nuevo. Gould owns a property management company and lives in Menifee.
Both have extensive volunteer experience. Incumbent Dennis served previously on the Nuview Union School District Board of Education, on the Board of Directors of the Riverside County School Boards Association, the California School Boards Delegate Assembly representing Riverside and Imperial counties, the Federal Government Relations Chair for the National School Boards Association and is a past Rotary Club president and is a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary International.
Gould served for four years on the Romoland School Board, is a current member of the City of Menifee Trails Commission and president of Hans Christensen Middle School Site Council, holds a California School Board Association Masters in Governance certificate, served on the committee that authored the City of Temecula’s Youth Master Plan and was the founder and director of the Temecula Music Fest, a youth-oriented music festival.
The seven-member BOE board, one for each trustee area, is not specifically an educational policy-making board, as Dennis was quick to point out, but one that conducts administrative and review functions, specifically: approves the annual county office of education budget, acts as an appeal board for student expulsions, inter-district transfers and district charter school petitions, sets the salary for the county superintendent of schools, and acquires property to house the office of the county superintendent. As such, business and financial experience are helpful qualifications for board membership, as are familiarity with issues surrounding educational policy within the district.
Dennis said he is running because all his public service interest is around children. “There’s been a natural progression and concentration on education in my life, from PTA and so on,” said Dennis. “My wife is a teacher so education has always been a priority.” He said he specifically wants to serve on this board because board service expands the public advocacy aspect of education and opens doors to state legislators. “That gives us a chance to discuss with legislators how the [state budget] money is allocated. It’s a matter of setting priorities, with education and the future of our children and country, being the most important. Something has to come first.”
Dennis fretted that we are in a world market and yet we teach math much as we did generations ago and that other countries are way ahead of us in developing mastering concepts and approaches for students to learn in ways that make them both more knowledgeable and competitive in the world market. Dennis says that education is his passion and that he can “give this job what it needs. He questions whether Gould has the time to devote to this position having recently resigned from the Romoland board for “family reasons.” In response, Gould said he had untimely deaths in his family and health issues that required his full attention; that his decision to resign from the Romoland board was a tough one, but that he had to put family first and he is now ready to move forward.
Gould said that as a parent of a child in Riverside County schools, he has a personal interest in seeing that all county schools are properly funded and safe for children leading to a time when Riverside County becomes a leader in the field of education. He would like to see more county emphasis on Regional Occupational and Career Technical Programs in cooperation with local businesses to diversify the educational menu. Gould is an advocate of more local control. “School districts know their needs and know their kids better than the folks in Sacramento and DC do,” he said.
Gould said he is familiar with most parts of trustee district four because his job as property manager takes him throughout the district. “If you are looking for an active parent who is involved in our schools, who will listen to all sides of a situation and make thoughtful fiscally conservative choices, then I am your candidate,” he said.
To learn more about the candidates see: www.votebillgould.com and www.electbrucedennis.com. Incumbent Dennis is endorsed by the Riverside County Teachers Association, Tom Torlakson, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Senator Bill Emmerson and Assemblyman Brian Nestande, Riverside County Supervisors Marion Ashley and Jeff Stone and Kenneth Young, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools. Gould did not list any endorsements on his website. “That’s not the kind of campaign I’m running,” he said.