Name: Bonnie Castrey
Birthplace: Buffalo, N.Y.
Residence: Huntington Beach since 1975
Education: RN (1964), PHN and BSN (1972) from Cal State Long Beach; and juris doctor (1992) from Western State University College of Law
Experience as an educator: adjunct professor, Western State University College of law (1984-present); taught as an adjunct at many community colleges since 1975; tenured instructor El Camino Community College 1970-75; Edith Cowan University, Perth Australia, visiting scholar (1995)
Previously elected or appointed positions: First elected to Huntington Beach Union High School District in 1985, Federal Service Impasses Panel 1995-2002 (member 1995-2000 and chairwoman 2000-02); Administrative Conference of the United States 1995-97; Orange County Commission on the Status of Women 1977-84.
Community organizations you belong to: member of AAUW HB/FV/ Westminster Branch; member of Pi Lambda Theta; .ember of CSULB Alumni Assn.; member of WSU College of Law Alumni Assn. Board of Directors; member of Amigos de Bolsa Chica; member of the Shipley Center; member of the Golden West College Foundation Board of Directors; chairwoman of the Board of the Center for Collaborative Solutions; member of the board of directors of the Orange County Labor Employment Relations Assn.; and lifetime member of the United American Chinese Assn.
As a District, we belong to the Orange County School Board’s Assn. and the California School Boards Assn. I am an elected member of the CSBA’s Delegate Assembly and in that role have the opportunity to continue learning about the educational issues facing California and the United States and to advocate for students and public education.
Why should constituents vote for you?
I am committed to fostering public education and believe that all of our children should have the opportunity to have a full education including both the core subjects and co-curricular opportunities.
As I have always promised, I shall continue to listen to you. Although we may not always agree, I will listen and weigh your concerns before voting on issues.
I have remained student centered in my decision making, ensuring that all students have opportunities for completing their education.
I have promoted programs which reach our students who are at risk of dropping out of school. They include, but are not limited to: support staff on each campus such as nurses, health aides and counselors; the Community Day School; increased offerings in the arts on every campus; academies which focus on specific areas such as math, science, business and the arts, both visual and performing; and programs such as AVID for students having problems with confidence and study skills; special programs as Pathways and the Special Abilities Cluster, which serve the needs of our special education students.
I am fiscally responsible and have worked with my colleagues on the board to ensure the district’s financial stability. I have always voted for a balanced budget. Together we have modernized all of our schools and provided for the future upkeep of the schools.
We have provided for updated curriculum that meets the state’s standards in all core subjects including the visual and performing arts.
I have worked to secure safe and secure campuses. The district’s strategic plan focuses on promoting both student and staff safety. This is important to ensure that students can learn without fear.
We hire the finest certificated and classified staff members and have very high standards, which are upheld.
I have worked with parents and our community at large throughout the years to provide a fine education to our students, including our wonderful community members who attend the many adult education programs.
I have worked with and for you in good times and tough times and if you re-elect me, I shall continue to work diligently on your behalf.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing your district and how do you plan to address it?
The biggest threat to our wonderful district is that the state will continue to cut funding for each student. With each budget cycle that we do not receive 100% of the funding for education, we have to look at how to manage our students’ educational needs and programs. Today we receive about 80 cents for every dollar that we are supposed to receive. Our students deserve a first-rate education.
I shall continue to watch the budget and expenditures very closely and ask the important questions to ensure that each penny is spent wisely. And, I’ll continue to work with legislators to point out to them the very real effect on students of each reduction in funding. Fortunately all of the district’s employees still work a full year and our students have a full school year of 180 days. I’ll continue to fight for
funding so that we can maintain our school year as students need time on task to have a complete education.
In the last year, what is one issue that you think the sitting board members handled well and why?
The budget and modernization monies! Our budget must show a 3% ending balance for each school year, projected three years out. I have consistently worked with the board majority to pass a balanced budget. Regarding the modernization, which has taken place, I have carefully watched the bids for projects and ensured that each of our sites is a 21st century site of learning for our students and that teachers and staff have a favorable workplace.
The Citizens Measure C Over-site Committee, provided for in the measure, has consistently validated our wise decisions for the modernization of all our sites. I urge you to come and look at the schools and see both their beauty and functionality. From science labs to the 1926 Lombard Romanesque theatre and the stadiums, we have state of the art learning facilities which you have funded and of which you can be very proud.
In the last year, what is one issue the board got wrong and what would you have done differently?
I have pondered this question but have not come up with a vote that I have regretted or would have done differently. When my board materials arrive, I spend all the necessary time to study the issues and gather any additional information which I need to make an informed vote. My preparation ensures an informed vote which is student centered and in the best interests of their education. When I have to make difficult decisions, I do!