As previously reported in Patch,there are five candidates currently running for three seats on the Las Virgenes Unified School District school board: Lesli Stein, the incumbent, Angela Cutbill, Dallas Lawrence, Mary Jo Ammon and Ray Pearl.
Patch has sent out a questionnaire* to each of the candidates, and we will be reporting on their individual responses.
We profile Ray Pearl who, with his wife, have lived in the community since 1998. The couple has three children–an eighth, fifth and second-grader–currently attending LVUSD schools.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background and why you think you’re qualified for the position.
I live here. I work here. I volunteer here. I am an active volunteer in our district, a dedicated nonprofit executive and a former United States Naval Officer. I have the leadership skills and budgetary experience as well as a master’s degree in public administration, all of which will combine to help me serve our entire community effectively. Whether it has been the four years of service to the White Oak Elementary PFC, including the past two years as president, or my continuing service as a founding board member of THE Foundation for Las Virgenes Schools, including my time as its first treasurer, I have worked hard to promote a quality education in our District.
Why are you running for School Board?
I have a vested interest in the public education of our children. I am a long-time community resident and volunteer in our school district who has a life-long commitment to public service. I believe the School Board should have members with different backgrounds and experiences. With children who will be enrolled in LVUSD until 2024, I will have a daily understanding of what is happening in our schools and our classrooms. A public education is no longer free. As a founding member of THE Foundation for Las Virgenes Schools, I have seen first-hand the positive impact our entire community can have in raising private funds for a public education. I want to provide strong leadership that will continue to expand the role of THE Foundation and our business community in helping fund education. I also believe strongly in being accessible, available and transparent. A quality education for all our students will always be my primary focus.
What do you think are some of the issues the District will face during your first term if you are elected?
While the passage of Proposition 30 was sold as a huge benefit for education, we have learned that all Districts will not be treated equally. The state’s new funding formula does improve the amount of money being returned to LVUSD but it does not solve all our funding issues. We have a parcel tax that will expire in 2016 and declining enrollment in some of our schools. We need to ensure our district budget continues to fund core educational programs in the most cost effective and efficient manner. Additionally, the implementation of Common Core Standards will see a big change in how our children are taught. Working with our administrators, our teachers and our parents, we must ensure our children continue to excel and prepare themselves for the next phase of their lives. Finally, we must increase technology in all our classrooms. We live in an era where our children often know more about technology than we do. Our district needs to continue to ensure that, starting in elementary school, our children have access to the technology they will be using throughout their lives.
What’s the first thing you would like to do if you’re elected to the Board?
I think the most important thing I can do to start is listen. As a newly elected Board member, it is important for me to hear from those who have a vested interest in our district’s success and make sure their perspectives are included as we tackle important issues, especially our budget and the implementation of Common Core standards, and set policy for our district.
What do you think of the job the current Board has done?
I think our current Board has done an excellent job of upholding the tradition of educational excellence we have all come to expect. I would like to use my leadership skills, experience and passion to ensure LVUSD not only maintains its current quality but continues to improve into the future.
Do you have any ideas or programs in mind that could help generate some additional funding for the district?
As a founding member of T.H.E. Foundation for Las Virgenes Schools, it has been my honor and privilege to work with a group of dedicated volunteers to create a strong public-private partnership with the district. It’s been most gratifying to see our team’s hard work lead the community to providing funding in excess of $500,000 to LVUSD over the last two years. If elected to the School Board, I would like to strengthen our relationship with T.H.E. Foundation and work together to bring more private funds to our public schools.
In addition, I’d like to ensure LVUSD’s voice is strengthened in Sacramento. During my career, I have formed strong, bipartisan relationships with legislators and staff in Sacramento and hope to use those to ensure LVUSD always gets its fair share from the State.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I believe a leader must first listen. Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any thoughts on improving our District. My job will be to represent the entire community. I hope to hear from you.