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Bob Jensen: Candidates speak out on Castaic high

Posted: August 1, 2009 5:43 p.m.
Updated: August 2, 2009 2:55 a.m.
 
I'm Bob Jensen, candidate for the William S. Hart Union High School board of education, and I'm prepared to honor my commitments, along with the commitments made to this community by the Hart district.

By placing $300 million Measure SA before voters last year, the Hart district committed to constructing a high school in Castaic, modernizing many of our older schools and building long-awaited performing arts facilities at Saugus and Canyon high schools.

I intend to see those commitments through and bring to the table the experience, skills and determination to make it happen. The current recessionary climate provides a tremendous opportunity for construction work to be performed at very favorable costs to the district.

This is not my first rodeo. I served for the past four years as a school board member of the Newhall School District.

In addition, my professional background as a Certified Public Accountant provides me with a unique and unmatched level of financial experience.

Much of my client work is in the real estate and construction area. My practice also includes clients that are tax-exempt entities with similarities to school districts.

Although Newhall School District is among the top-performing school districts in the state, it has not been without challenges and obstacles. There have certainly been tough issues and hard calls.

School overcrowding, facility improvements and budget cuts top the list, but not to the exclusion of student achievement, diversity and labor agreements.

During my tenure on the Newhall School Board, of which I was president in 2008, our schools achieved California Distinguished School status on six occasions.

Three schools earned Title I Achievement awards and one school was designated as a National Blue Ribbon school. The district routinely has the highest overall API test scores in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The proposed housing developments of the additional phases of Stevenson Ranch and the Newhall Ranch project will add several more schools to the district.

The downturn in the economy has not deterred the board and administration from our plan to handle these issues and continue planning for the future.

My point is this: I haven't let unfavorable economic conditions change my focus of what is necessary to accomplish in the Newhall School District. This lets you know that as a Hart board member, I won't accept excuses.

There's a job to do. And I intend to do my part to see that it gets done on time and within budget.

I have the tools, abilities and skill-set needed to successfully lead the Hart district to build a high school in Castaic and complete the other modernization projects in a timely and cost-effective manner.

My children have attended public schools in Santa Clarita since kindergarten. At the time of this writing, I believe I am the only candidate with children actually attending schools in the Hart district.

Why is that important? It's important because it not only gives me a vested interest in the district's success, but it provides me with a personal connection to the schools, parents and students.

It is important for me to give back to the community. Organizations that I have been involved with include the Boy Scouts of America, Kiwanis Club, Treasurers Oversight Review Committee for the city of Burbank, SCV Chamber of Commerce, Valley Industrial Association, AYSO soccer (coach and referee), Valencia Valley School Technology Foundation, Santa Clarita Valley Trustees Association and the Hart High School Foundation.

Those endorsing me for the Hart board in this coming election include City Council member Bob Kellar, Newhall School District Superintendent Marc Winger, Hart district board member Dennis King and Castaic board member Dave Huffaker, among others.

Why am I running for office in a district that can't seem to catch a break? I'm running to make a difference. Four years from now, I want to look back and take pride in what was accomplished.

I want to know that we overcame every challenge thrown our way. I want to breathe easier knowing that schools have been built, campuses modernized, student achievement is on the rise and that the district is fiscally sound.

It's a tall order, but I'm up for the challenge.

Not only do we have the education of the Santa Clarita Valley's children on the line, but there are significant taxpayer dollars at risk.
I intend to make sure they are spent wisely. That's easy to say, yet hard to do. I know that; that's why I'm asking voters to consider my school board experience, professional qualifications and vested interest in student success as making me the right man for the job.

Bob Jensen lives in Valencia and is a certified public accountant and he is serving his first term on the Newhall School District governing board. He is a candidate for the William S. Hart Union High School District board election Nov. 3. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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