Rialto School Board Q&A with Russel Silva

Welcome to our third RUSD Board member Q&A out of six candidates. Russel Silva carry’s the very coveted endorsement of the Flores Park Neighborhood Watch. He also is a smart person that has offered some great responses. On thing that stands out to us here is the issue of opening up the rails to trails project to schools Werner Elementary and Rialto Middle School. Their is no safety plan in place by either the city or school district but the school district is moving forward anyway. Enjoy the read.

Russel Silva

Where did you grow up?  

I was born and raised in Hollister, CA. a small agricultural  community.  I moved to Ontario, CA in 1982 and then I bought a house in Rialto in April 1984, where I live today.

What High School did you graduate from?  

Graduated from San Benito Joint Union High School, Class of 1973. It was the only high school in San Benito County at the time.

Did you attend College? If so where did you attend and what was your major? 

Went to several junior colleges; West Valley in Saratoga, CA; Chaffee and San Bernardino Valley. My interests have mostly been towards engineering. No degree.

What is your current career field? How did you find yourself picking that career? 

My love is civil engineering. From the time I started working for the Engineering Department in Hollister I was hooked. Surveying, designing, drafting, inspection are just some of the duties I had. But the best fun was seeing the jobs I worked on come to life; housing tracts, shopping centers, industrial buildings, city infrastructure. As a kid growing up I never understood all the behind the scene stuff that makes a city function, or for that matter any successful organization. I guess engineering was in my blood.

How has your work life prepared you for the Rialto Unified School Board?

I have worked all my adult life so the majority of my education is a result of my ‘hands on’ experience. Having worked 24 years in the public sector and with my current job as Capital Projects Coordinator I manages bids, establish and write RFP’s and contracts for consultants and contractors, act as a project manager, and handle payment processing and change orders for the project assigned me. Every project has a budget and it I my job to make sure I stay on budget. I scrutinize all payments for accuracy and work progress, as well as all change orders to make sure that extra work does exceed the 10% public contract threshold. I rarely have contracts that exceed the 10%.

What do you see as the top three issues at Rialto Unified School District? 

Of course 1) student education and performance,  2) better fiscal control and accountability,  3) student safety, including on campus bullying.

What are your thoughts on Common Core?

The basic concept of the Common Core is great as it is trying to give every child nation wide the same opportunity to succeed and graduate with the same educational skills. The down falls; 1) I think it was thrown at us too fast. Teachers were not given ample time or training to unwrap this new program and present it to the students. 2) the textbooks and technology to make CC successful are behind. 3) because the way the system is set up to be taught, many teaches are handcuffed. What I mean is teachers all have their own style of teaching, but CC doesn’t allow for that. Sometimes teachers need to add that extra pop to grab the students attention. All in all I think it is a good system, but I wish it allowed a little more flexibility for the teachers. The District needs to provide more training as well.

With the new funding program programs like ROP are now in jeopardy of being lost. What are your thoughts on eliminating categorical funding and putting these programs in jeopardy?

Eliminating categorical funding for ROP, especially in lower income communities, jeopardizes the opportunity for some of our student to succeed. Face it, there are students out there that are not wired for college. By eliminating ROP you eliminate those students from having an opportunity to step into the working class right out of high school and become a productive citizen. Case in point, I would not be where I am today without the technical skill sets I received in high school.

The city of Rialto is moving forward with their rails to trails program. Some at city hall are pushing the school district to create additional access points at schools like Rialto Middle and Werner Elementary so students can access the school from the trail. What are your thoughts on this as it creates another access point for people that don’t belong on campus? 

Bad idea. Creating an access from an unmonitored, unsupervised community trail that is used not just by the average biker or walker or fitness trainer but criminals, pedifiles, child molesters, drug users and pushers is only asking for major trouble. At Warner Elementary that access gate would be 230 feet away from the nearest building and security camera. The District would have to station security to that gate every time it is in use to make sure the students are safe; and that costs money. If they use the security cameras by the time an insident is noticed and security is alerted, the incident is over and someone could be hurt. Cooperative agreement with agencies is common practice, but not at the cost of the life of a student.

Would you support working with people in the community to help Offer College and employment support to our young people as they enter the 21st century job market?

Absolutely! I love the idea of the Middle College for those students driven to achieve higher education. But I am also open to creating an internship program that will enable students to get hands on training in a field of their choosing with local agencies and business.

One big problem with our school board now is the pattern of abstaining from voting on issues leaving issues unresolved, what are your thoughts on this practice?

I think the bigger problem is that I don’t think the School Board is fully informed about many of the issues that they are asked to vote on. This leaves them having questions and discussions that lead to leaving issues unresolved. Administration works for the Board and part of their job is to keep the Board fully informed on all critical issues and contracts which I see not happening today. Many of the discussions the Board has in the open forum could have been answered with better communication from staff to the Board.

Please list any websites or social media links and/or contact information so the voters can contact your campaign. 

Email:rsilva4rusdschoolboard@gmail.com                                                                      Website: rsilva4rusdschoolb.wix.com/russel-silva                                           Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008230744374&fref=ts

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