Rialto School Board Q&A with Don Olinger

Don Olinger was the second candidate to respond to our Q&A opportunity for the School Board, well kind of! Instead of answering our questions he choose to send us a prepared candidate statement. One of the communities biggest issues with the current board and the district is they don’t listen to the community. In our opinion Mr. Olinger clearly has that problem as well. With that being said we are posting his statement because their are some interesting nuggets inside.

Donald D. Olinger
Birthplace………Wabash County Indiana
Rialto resident since 1957
BA ……..Manchester University
MA………Indiana University
Post Graduate….Univ. of Redlands
Career: Rialto teacher and principal
Political:  Two terms (8 years) on Rialto School Board
Three terms on West Valley Water District Board of Directors
Church:   Administrative Council Chairperson & Board of Trustees
Military:  U.S. Navy veteran
RIALTO SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE STATEMENT by DON OLINGER

1.  My major focus is to restore the luster of the RUSD, once the envy of surrounding
districts.  This can be done by first identifying systemic problems which cause major
distractions from the core purpose of public education.  Shoring up the deficits can best
be accomplished with meaningful stakeholder involvement in a trust relationship setting.
This begins in the boardroom, which currently is not a happy place.

2.  What goes on in the boardroom affects what takes place in the classroom and vice versa.
Electing competent, knowledgeable board members is essential to implementing recent
school reforms enacted in Sacramento.  Common Core State Standards and a landmark
Local Control Funding Formula will start moving schools in the right direction.  The LC Action
Plan must include increased funding for early childhood education, class size reductions,
more instructional aides, counsellors, and staff development.  Chronic absenteeism, lack
of interest in school and a slowing of API scores will require new strategies.

Measure Y funds are modernizing aging schools. How the remaining $61 million author-
ization is spent will require close monitoring and perhaps reassessing priorities
along the way.  Garnering public support for a possible parcel tax hike is essential to
providing our students with a safe, healthy school environment.

3.  Despite some excellent programs like Parent University, community forums, staff
development, student services, etc.  there is a “lack of confidence” perception by many
parents.  What some consider poor decisions and inaction at the top echelon foster
even more discontent.  Board meetings at times are contentious which give confusing
signals to staff in implementing policy decisions.  I am pleased that the Board is trying
to ease tensions in a more emotionally satisfying climate.

4.  The RUSD where my children received a good education and where I enjoyed a wonderful
career has the elements of a great district but lacks a the spirit and synergy which release
the best efforts of staff, parents and students.  This requires a collaborative plan of action.

5.  School districts compete for the best qualified employees including the superintendent.
The reciprocal is that applicants search for the best district.  Attracting the most qualified
applicants require more than a good compensation package.  They want to be in a place
where employees feel appreciated, free of petty conflict and where visionary goals can
be realized.  One of the most salient roles of the Board is selecting the right superintendent.
This should be a serious assignment in tandem with a professional search team and
and all stakeholders.  Excessive contract perks should be avoided.

6.  Sometimes new leadership on the Board is necessary to make a desirable change.
Many parents and community leaders have urged me to return to the Boardroom.  They
feel that my experience on school, water and church boards, a teaching career, commitment
to high standards, personal attributes and a fondness of the RUSD make me a unique
candidate for the November 4, 2014 school board election.

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