Q&A with Ruben Canales, candidate for Paso Robles School Board
Questions and answers with Ruben Canales
Editor’s note: The Paso Robles Daily News invited all candidates running for the board of trustees of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District to participate in a Q&A to help inform local voters. We will be running them this week as we receive them.
Why are you running for trustee?
I am running for the Paso Robles School Board for the same reason I entered the teaching profession over 30 plus years ago… I want to make a difference in the lives of children and young people. I believe in the power of education being the great equalizer and is the solution for many of the social ills in our society today. A quality K-12 education ensures students experience freedom which is the opportunity to make choices that affect their lives as adults. Upon graduation, young people can choose to further their education by attending college or they can choose to enter the career field and master a craft. There is nothing more satisfying than connecting with a former student who is a successful young adult and living their dreams.
What is the school district currently doing well, and what would you like to see improve?
At this time, the district is conducting school virtually due to the COVID-19 virus and is doing a fine job. This is no easy task but teachers have met the challenges associated with distance learning. It is hard to fathom teachers managing a classroom of students via Zoom or Google Classroom and providing individualized, small group, and whole classroom instruction. Every aspect of school is happening via technology, such as, attendance, homework, parent conferences, and Special Education IEP meetings. All stakeholders deserve praise…. the students, parents, teachers and staff for making distance learning work. Great job everyone! The PRJUSD budget has been in disarray for years and continues to be an area of focus and improvement. To be a District of Excellence, it is imperative that a positive budget is attained and maintained.
What is your position on re-opening classrooms and protecting students from COVID-19?
News that the TK-5 students will be returning back to school in person is fantastic news. Every precaution must be taken to ensure a clean and safe environment exists at each elementary school site. CDC guidelines (masks, social distancing, temp. check) must be incorporated and practiced during the various aspects of the school day including the classroom, recess outdoors, and the lunch period. It will be a great day when all students including grades 6-12 return back to school.
How can the school district better serve students and meet its budget responsibilities?
The district can better serve the students, parents, and the community by attaining and maintaining a positive certified budget. The curricular and extracurricular programs and activities cannot be maintained when the district is struggling financially. It is difficult to attract, recruit, and retain quality teachers when the district has a deficit spending problem and fears of layoffs and furloughs loom over the minds of staff. Student enrollment declines when programs and services are cut; when the school year is shortened. It is imperative the district become fiscally responsible in all expenditures and install checks and balances so that a strong budget and reserves are realized.
Is there anything else you would like voters to know about your candidacy?
I have spent most of my adult life in the field of education. I was an elementary teacher for five years. a vice-principal at a Middle School for four years, an elementary school principal for seventeen years, and a director of human resources for four years. The last ten years of my administrative experience were here in Paso Robles. I was the principal of Winifred Pifer Elementary School and the HR director for PRJUSD. I earned my doctorate from the University of the Pacific, Stockton.
About Ruben Canales
Ruben Canales has had three children attended Paso Robles schools (Pifer, Lewis, and PRHS). “They had awesome teachers and excellent educations,” he says. “My oldest daughter earned her BA/MA from Arizona State University. My son is attending Cal Poly and my youngest daughter is attending UC Santa Barbara. My wife is a Special Education teacher at one of the elementary schools. I believe my passion to make a difference in the lives of young people, my experience in education and my knowledge of the district/school system makes me a viable member of the PRJUSD School Board.”