Bob Harden

Name: Bob Harden

Age: 54

Birthplace: No answer

Residence: Garden Grove

Occupation:  IT manager

Education: bachelor's degree from Cal State Long Beach

Experience as an educator: 16 years as a school board member

Previously elected or appointed positions: four terms on the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education, past member Garden Grove General Plan Advisory Committee

Community organizations you belong to: Calvary Chapel

Why should constituents vote for you?

In the time I have been on the board, GGUSD has been recognized nationally as a leader in providing quality education to students from all ethnic backgrounds and income levels.  We have managed our money wisely and gotten through difficult financial times with fewer cuts in programs than our neighboring districts. The best way to continue that success is to keep the current leadership team in place.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing your district and how do you plan to address it?

The biggest issue facing GGUSD is the state budget situation.  School districts will be required to reduce costs, the same way that families are reducing costs to deal with the current economy. The challenge for the board will be to reduce costs in a way that will have the least impact on core academic programs for children. As a board we have set priorities that will minimize the impact of budget cuts on classroom programs for the kids and we are holding staff accountable to implement those priorities.

In the last year, what is one issue that you think the sitting board members handled well and why?

I think we have handled the budget situation very well. Starting last year we set district priorities, using the overriding principle of minimizing the impact to classroom programs for kids. We have implemented cuts according to those priorities, always asking, "How will this effect what goes on in the classroom."  Because we have managed our money wisely during good times, we have been able to phase in cuts in ways that caused minimum disruption. We have been able to dip into cash reserves in some areas to lessen the severity of cuts or to spread the effect out over time. We have a plan in place that will allow us to continue forward until the economy turns around and the state gets its budget mess sorted out.

In the last year, what is one issue the board got wrong and what would you have done differently?

Looking back over the last year, I don’t think there is anything that I would do differently as a board member.

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