Election 2016: WCSD Board of Trustees, Seat G — read 2 candidate statements
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The general election in Nevada is set for Nov. 8. There are a number of races important to local voters, including the District G seat on the Washoe County School District Board, an at-large position representing the western half of Washoe County.
After the primary, the two remaining candidates are former Washoe County Manager Katy Simon Holland and former IVGID General Manager Bill Horn.
For this race, residents will be asked to vote for one candidate; the top vote-getter will take the seat.
To better inform readers heading to the polls, the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza reached out to both candidates a couple weeks ago and asked each to provide a short biography, as well as a 750-word maximum candidate statement.
To read more about the candidates, to view early voting locations and hours, or anything else about local elections, visit the Washoe County Registrar of Voters web page at washoecounty.us/voters, and then click on “Election Information 2016.”
Below, you can read the candidates’ statements, which are printed verbatim (including typos and grammar errors) in random order:
Full name: William B. Horn (Bill)
Full-time residence in Washoe County (not looking for exact address, but neighborhood/street name/city): 2250 Dant Blvd. Reno, Nevada 89509
How long you have been a resident within District G: 1991
Current occupation: Retired Education Volunteer and Big Brother with BBBS
Formal education: Sacramento Senior High School 1964; Sacramento City College 1968, AA; Brigham Young University 1969, BS in Accounting and Economics; Golden Gate University 1980, MBA in Management; Special District and Local Government Institute Graduate 2003; Retired California Certified Public Accountant 1971-1984
Current and previous political/governmental experience: Incline Village General Improvement District from 2001 through 2013; Director of Administrative Services March 2001 through October 2001; General Manager and Interim General Manager from November 2001 through September 2013
My name is Bill Horn, I am asking for your vote to become a WCSD Board Trustee.
I can become the closest local knowledgeable elected school official Incline Village and Crystal Bay as ever elected, because I volunteered my personal time and finances from 2001 through 2016 in support of the three public schools. For example, I co-founded the Incline Schools Academic Excellence Foundation and Endowment, co-founded the Golf fore Education fundraiser and co-founded Red~White and Tahoe Blue, all with two goals, first to support the education of our children and second to support their teachers.
When I retired the education endowment balance was approximately $300,000.
In addition I was the driving force behind the construction of the all-weather track at the high school, volunteered with the Incline Elementary School Literacy Program reading in Candy VanMeter 3rd grade class from 2002 through 2014 and the first chairman of the Independent Incline Village Committee to create a new county or city from 2002 through 2003.
Saving Our Children’s education, establishing transparent communication with the parents and allowing the teachers to teach are the founding principles of my campaign. There is no question the finances of the district, especially the $1.3 billion immediate requirements for 15 new schools at a cost of $781 million and the $480 million in repairs are clouding the focus of the trustees and superintendent in my opinion.
Once elected, there are four orders of business and they will run parallel. The enhanced education of all our children, transparent communication with their parents, allowing the teachers to teach, and the restoration of trust and accountability over public funds. Sadly the public has stopped listening and trusting the schools board because of their violation of open meeting laws and lack of timely transparency.
There is a disconnect between the current and past trustees and the last three superintendents and Incline Village and Crystal Bay children, parents and teachers. The district leadership and trustees represent all the children, not just those in the valley. What I saw for thirteen years was the lack of transparent communication with the parents, financial support, comparable athletics facilities, addressing gifted and talented children equitably, special education with total inclusion and helping the parents navigate the complicated GT and Special Education path’s to helping their children, tenured local teachers, addressing specific requests such as starting an IB program, as well as forcing moms and dads to move down to the valley where more funds and programs are provided to our children.
I have been an education volunteer and advocate with the WCSD schools since 1990, so I have watched, as five our my daughters, two grandchildren have graduated from WCSD schools and I have four grandchildren currently enrolled in four different schools, so I know the struggles with bottom level national rankings and the continued financial challenges and frequent requests for more money. Graduation rates are not a measure of successful education of our children to become sustainable members of our community.
For me the success formula is focusing on the children, anxiously engaged parents, teachers who are allowed to teach, equitable education programs and facilities and trustees and superintendents who have the courage to stay the course. We need trustees who have the courage to push back on Common Core and stop asking our teachers and children to follow what outsiders believe is best for our community.
There was a time when IVGID was faced with financial instability, deferred maintenance and repairs, recreation buildings and irrigation systems long overdue for replacement and poor customer service. Through a collaborative effort with the community, the IVGID Board of Trustees and the employees, IVGID became one of the strongest financially sustainable governments in Nevada and the United States and an outstanding customer service record.
Your vote will place me on the WCSD Board of Trustees and I will hold the superintendent accountable for all public funds, especially the $781 million if WC-1 is passed, the $315 million provided by the legislature via SB207, the equitable education of Incline Village and Crystal Bay children, transparent communication with their parents and finally have the courage to allow our teachers to finally teach.
Please vote and if you want someone who understands the public education system of Incline Village and Crystal Bay, learned and earned through his volunteerism and financial support, then put your mark next to Bill Horn.
Full name: Katy Simon Holland
Full-time residence in Washoe County (not looking for exact address, but neighborhood/street name/city): Northwest Reno
How long you have been a resident within District G: I’ve lived in District G since 1995; have lived in Verdi, old Southwest Reno, Lake Tahoe and now the Northwest.
Current occupation: Retired Washoe County Manager; consultant to local governments on Innovation; faculty for the national local government Innovation Academy; keynote speaker and facilitator for strategic planning and City Council retreats nationally.
Formal education: MA from UNR College of Education, BA magna cum laude from University of California
Current and previous political/governmental experience: One of 1000 Credentialed Public Managers in the US; 15-year award-winning Manager of Washoe County; previously Asst County Manager for Finance, Legislative Analyst and Budget Analyst for Washoe County; served on several national Boards for Public Management: Chairman of the Board of the Alliance for Innovation in local government, International City/County Management Association’s Center for Performance Management and National Association of County Administrators; no previous political candidacy
I was asked by community leaders to run for this seat because of my extensive background in successfully managing a large, complex public organization with an $800 million budget (roughly the size of the WCSD budget) with 3200 employees in 11 unions. We balanced our budget, earned a bond rating upgrade during the Recession, received a voter approval rating on our handling of the fiscal crisis of more than 90%, and improved citizen satisfaction by almost 50%. As my husband said, “If you could help, why wouldn’t you?”
I have been a teacher and a counselor, a successful small business owner, taught Board Governance as a volunteer for the United Way, was a Board member of our region’s Economic Development Authority for 15 years, was a volunteer Big Sister for the Big Brother/Big Sisters, and was the recipient of Truckee Meadows Tomorrow’s Making a Genuine Difference Award given to the individual that makes a significant positive impact on the region’s Quality of Life. I have served on a total of 15 non-profit national and local Boards. I am a parent and grandparent of Washoe County students.
I am a fierce believer in the critical importance of quality public education. I believe the District must rebuild public confidence, and I’ve proposed four new programs:
1) A Fundamental Review project to examine every program, every position, and every function under the oversight of a citizen-led committee, as we did at Washoe County, to determine whether/where efficiencies can be found. I will ask tough questions and support the District’s work towards a better future. This is much more thorough than a financial audit, which only samples financial transactions and doesn’t provide a comprehensive performance review.
2) Teacher Success: I will work to support our outstanding educators and build a pipeline of talented people who will join the teaching profession and be supported throughout their careers.
3) Design for Learning: With the massive construction needs of our District, I will look for ways to cost-effectively build for 21st century learning, and will pursue Gates Foundation-funded technical assistance to assist School Districts with efficient, cost-effective facility design.
4) Ready for Success: Too many WCSD students aren’t adequately prepared for college or career success when they leave us. I will push for expanded work experience and service learning to connect young people to their futures and inspire their efforts, and will work to re-evaluate testing requirements and improve them where possible.
I will listen to the community, as I have always done throughout my career. For that reason, I have been endorsed by the Incline Board of Realtors, the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors, The Chamber, the Teachers Association, the Principals Association, the School Police Association, the Builders Association, the Associated General Contractors, the Laborer’s Union, the Northern Nevada Central Labor Committee, and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, as well as numerous individuals including former Superintendent Dr. Jim Hager, NV State Board of Education member Pat Hickey, former Sheriff Mike Haley, and many others. I was very fortunate to receive 43% of the votes in an 8-way race for this seat in the Primary (more than twice as many votes as the second-place candidate). My entire career has been spent in service to the public, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve our community by strengthening our public education system at a time when it is needed most.