Interview with Fontana School Board Candidate Kareem Gongora

Here at Rialto Now our Moto is “Informing the public one post at a time”. Campaign signs can’t tell you about a persons character really it is only an indicator of how much money they have because signs are EXPENSIVE!!!!!!

With that being said each candidate has been given opportunities to have an interview published with our informational blog/website. Please read the questions and answers below and get more informed about this school board race.

Full disclosure this is a Special Election for a seat that will be up for grabs again in November 2018.

Give us some background on the history behind this school board election?

  • Late last year a serving Board Member was elected to Fontana City Council leaving a vacancy on Fontana Unified School District’s School Board. The four remaining Board Members implemented a thorough interview process to fill the vacancy and I was one of the finalist. However, at the end of this process the Board was deadlocked and chose to fill the vacant seat by holding a special election. While it has been a journey filled with many obstacles I promised my children – all students at FUSD schools – that I wouldn’t stop until I was in a position to help lead the District and ensure that they and their classmates are receiving the quality education they so richly deserve.

What do you think makes you the best choice for voters in November?

  • I’m a life-long Fontana resident and a product of FUSD. My wife and I chose to raise our children in Fontana and send them to the same FUSD schools I attended when I was their age. However, I’m running for School Board in order to ensure that the education our students receive is better than the one I did and that they have more opportunities than I did. As a member of the Fontana Planning Commission and Chairman of the San Bernardino County Committee on School District Organization, I have experienced leading deliberative bodies through building consensus among my peers. That is the leadership that FUSD’s Board needs now, more than ever, in order to craft excellent public policy that enhances educational equity, improves special education programming, and keeps our students safe.

Many believe that school board seats should be more about what is good for the school and not ties to a particular political agenda. What are your thoughts on this.

  • Politics must begin to take a back seat to education in our community. Too often representatives elected by the people to do what is best for them and our students end-up placing their own interests – including the potential trajectory of their political careers first. Earlier this year, I drove to Sacramento twice to testify in front of Senate Education and Public Safety committees about legislation our community desperately needed to safeguard our children from child predators — the legislation earned bipartisan support in both committees. I also joined a local non-profit to testify in front of the State Board of Education to advocate for equity and stronger accountability measures for our school districts – specifically low-income students, English learners, students with disabilities, and other racial and ethnic groups.

A lot of attention has been given to this election should be about the kids. What are your thoughts on this.

  • As a parent, all I think about is creating better opportunities for children within my community– I grew up here, I live here, and want all of our children to be successful. This is why one of my priorities is advocating for social and emotional learning programs, to effectively help our children apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. This was my focus when I helped establish the WATCH DOGS program at my son’s middle school.

With most budgets at max capacity how vital are public/private partnerships to provide more for Fontana students?

  • As a school district, public and private partnerships are critical to improving learning conditions and environments for students. In fact, this is something I was able to accomplish when I was in charge of federal and state grants that provided financial literacy, nutrition education, and healthcare access to families.
What can you bring to the table for parents that a skeptical that anyone on the school board or in district office are being wise stewards of Fontana tax fillers?
  • I want students, parents, community members, and business owners to be more involved in the decision-making process. As a Board Member, I will be fully accessible and open to new ideas to not only engage, but include recommendations to how we can operate more efficiently and be better accountable.

How vital is it to you that local business owners step out and help train tomorrow’s innovators and business owners? How have you stepped up and put words into actions?

  • I think it is incredibly important that we expose our youth, at an earlier age, to the idea of attending college, seeking a trade, or business ownership to help create a plan for them. This is vital to economic development in our community and I want our children to help drive that. Too often, we have only exposed our children to certain industries, but the jobs of tomorrow have yet to be created. Our children need exposure, which is why when I developed after-school programs, I placed an emphasis on bringing different careers and backgrounds to inspire students. In fact, one of my biggest accomplishments is organizing Fontana graduates to come back and mentor students in the school district through Fontana Foundation of Hope, Big Brothers Big Sisters Inland Empire, and the Fontana Unified School District. My next project will be providing access to high school juniors and seniors with internships at local businesses. I work in human resources for the tenth largest county in the United States and I want students to be prepared to fill these positions.

Reporters side Note:

Whoever you pick in November as your person for Fontana School Board I can tell you that when it comes to political ideals Kareem and I are miles apart. Yet he is approachable, willing to sit down and hash out ideas and even come under harsh digital attack and scrutiny. Yet this man remains willing to help and listen. Every year both Kareem and I go to a local continuation school to talk to kids that struggle with life choices and their education about the opportunities before them. School board elections should not be about political affiliation they should be about people that are ready to get their hands dirty and work hard for students and parents.

Rialto Top Officials Skip Out On Fallen Officer Remembrance Event’s

On Wednesday October 18th a Memorial and Remembrance Luncheon was held for fallen Rialto Police Officer Sergio Carrera Jr. who lost his life in the line of duty 10 years ago. Both the Graveside Memorial and Remembrance Luncheon were put on and put together with the hard work and support of Rialto Police Benefit Association without the police union this event would have never happened. Source tell us that if the Rialto Police Benefit Association had not stepped up nothing would have been done to honor this 10 year anniversary.

Those in attendance said that the event was a great way to remember a great officer who was taken away from his family and co-workers too soon. You may remember we called out the Mayor for not attending another event to honor Rialto’s fallen officers and Mayor Robertson got very upset with us and even Ed Scott barked at us for even suggesting that the Mayor and her council don’t support our fallen officers. Well actions speak louder than words and sources tell us that the council’s lack of actions speak louder than any words they may speak.

On October 19th sources close to the event reported that not one of the cities elected leaders even stopped by to say hello to the family or even give their condolences. Sources tell us that Captain Andy Karol from the command staff attended the Remembrance Luncheon on behalf of the Department. Also officers who stopped by the Luncheon that was in the city limits to remember their fellow fallen officer were scolded for doing so.

We reached out to those on Council and got a response from Councilman Andy Carrizales:

 “The Carrera family and our police officers were on my mind yet I was unable to attend due to being out of town”
When we asked Councilman Carrizales his thoughts on nobody from the city showing up to either event all he said was “wow”.

This is one of the many reasons local election advocates urge the community to look for sincere elected officials that will take these moments to show care and concern about their communities needs. As a son of a Military and Law Enforcement professional I can tell you that the pain of losing a loved one in the line of duty is a fear I am glad my family never had to endure.

 

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