NUSD Race: On-The-Job Experience

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

THE NATOMAS BUZZ invited the 10 candidates for Natomas Unified school board to participate in a series of articles wherein they answer questions submitted by readers.

Today’s question was sent to us by Robynne Rose-Haymer. THE NATOMAS BUZZ asked, “Many of the candidates have a lot of volunteer experience, what about professional experience that will lend itself specifically to our district’s current issues with financing, budget, loss of programming and fiscal integrity?”

Here are the answers we received by the deadline, in the order they were received:

Scott Dosick
I started my career as a budget analyst with the EPA in Washington DC and within three years was managing a national voluntary program. In 2000, I was appointed by Governor Davis as the Deputy Chief of Recycling for California’s “bottle bill” recycling program where I managed a multi-million dollar budget, 3 managers, 8 supervisors, and over 100 staff. Since 2005, I have been a teacher at the University of Phoenix and President and Owner of Capital Pathways LLC where I managed a non-profit association and secured over $10 million in grants for clients. I’m a member of NUSD’s Budget Advisory Committee and Chair of NUSD’s Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. Every student that leaves Natomas costs us $5000 annually. Offering programs like the STEM and International Baccalaureate (IB) will bring students back. Competing for these students with strong academic programs will generate the revenues we need to ensure fiscal integrity.

Ryan Herche
As a Legislative Analyst with the California Department of Health Care Services, it’s my job to analyze budgets, and the fiscal and social impact healthcare legislation will have on millions of Californians. I enjoy the work that I do for the State of California, and I’d love the opportunity to represent you right here in Natomas. I have a penchant for making government work better and crunching numbers, and I’ll do the same for our school district. Natomas Unified needs a reboot. One of my main priorities is to work diligently to restore fiscal integrity to our School District – we’ve got to stay away from the reckless decisions of the past, such as the botched Natomas land deal which is still costing taxpayers money. I’ll work hard to make sure money stays in the classroom and not in the pockets of compassionless consultants.

Mike Bedrosian
I have 20 years experience in multimillion dollar business management. My company sends me to dysfunctional, non-profiting stores to fix them. I have fixed or opened 11 stores in the last 7 years in 5 different states. I have made each one profitable, even without making sales forecast. I accomplished all of this while keeping employee turnover to zero. I also achieved this while receiving a 97% employee approval rating. The key to making any business successful is by one word, LEADERSHIP. You have to earn the loyalty and trust of people by listening and making decisions that prove you are there for their needs. You have to demonstrate, you do not consider yourself above the people but one of them. You need to work just as hard, by standing beside those you represent, to be an effective leader. This is the dedicated leadership I can bring to our district.

Susan Heredia
I am a Professor of Education and Department Chair at California State University, Sacramento. I manage, approve and oversee 15 graduate programs and their respective budgets. Those budgets include full-time and part-time faculty salaries, operating expenses, plus State and federal funds. As a Trustee, I have worked hard to ensure that the district remain solvent, while also supporting academic excellence. In 2003, we faced a series of budget reductions due to State funding cutbacks. Understanding the rules that govern the use of general, categorical, restricted and federal funds was critical in determining where and how much to cut. As a member of the Board of Directors for the California School Board Association (CSBA), I am responsible for approving the annual budget of this statewide organization, which includes the organization’s non-profit foundations. My professional school board experience has provided me with a wide range of budgeting know-how.

Bruce Roberts
Leadership and proven experience sets me apart from the others in this race. Currently the district serves over 9,000 students and last year revenue was almost $70M. When elected to the board in 2008, I immediately faced mid-year budget cuts coupled with declining enrollment during a period of unparalleled economic recession. School Districts have endured huge budgets cuts; I have worked tirelessly and made tough decisions in order to bring fiscal stability along with accountability to NUSD. In addition to being a NUSD trustee, my background is a combination of profession and volunteer experiences along with a strong education. I am a civil engineer, with Caltrans and currently manage a program of projects valued at over $320M, I have been the treasurer of the North Natomas TMA and along with an undergraduate BS degree from Chico, I received an MBA from the University of San Diego.

Karen Bernal
Current and past board members brought a diversity of experience with them when they were elected in past elections. Some had sound budgeting experience, but it didn’t necessarily translate to good decisions. That’s not to say that such experience isn’t welcome; of course it is! Simply, that good moral decisions do not rest on one’s credentials. If it did, we’d still have our Special Education, Arts, and P.E. teachers, as well as Elementary school library staff, at hours which do right by our students, as opposed to leaving them wanting. The district employs a CFO, whose job is to deal with fiscal matters through Business and Financial Services, a part of the district system. As elected representatives of the community, it’s the board’s job to ensure that we are informed with accurate, objective, and most importantly, complete information so the best decisions can be made for our students.

Briza Trujillo Cardenas
I am a family childcare business owner and deal with financing and budgeting on a day-to-day basis to be able to keep my business afloat, educate my children, and take care of the children that parents entrust me. My education volunteer work has been my second job with real financing, programming and fiduciary responsibility. As the chair for NUSD’s DELAC for many years, I have reviewed and approved budgets and expenditures for English Learners programs. I was also a PTA/PTSA office and School Site Council member in 3 schools and my primary responsibility was to review and approve school expenditures. I have exercised fiscal responsibility and oversight in all my positions by 1) setting long-term financial priorities, 2) questioning what works and doesn’t work, and 3) helping organizations maintain or raise new funds. Finally, my decisions are always informed by data and reflect the best interests of students.

Vina Guzman
Being an active parent volunteer is essential to understanding the perspective of school sites and developing relationships with staff, community members, and students. However, governing a school district takes more than just being an active volunteer. Working for the California School Boards Association for over 10 years has provided me with the necessary experience in business and public education to come on board and be an efficient leader from day one. As the Director of District and Financial Services I assist districts across the state with financing needs and connect them with programs to either maximize their resources or increase their revenue. I’ve worked with board members, superintendents, chief business officials, and more. If I can be a financial resource to districts across the state, I’m confident I can be a resource in Natomas and would be honored to have your vote on Election Day.

Have a question you’d like to ask the candidates? Send it to us at [email protected].

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