Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

October 12, 2004 > Obray Van Buren

Obray Van Buren

I have been active in the District for 28 years and currently serve on the Bond Oversight Committee and the New Haven Schools Foundation at New Haven Unified. I am on the Board of Directors for TRI-CED Recycling, Cypress Mandela/WIST Training Center and the Chabot College Foundation. I am an Executive Board member of the Oakland Workforce Investment Board.

I am running for the New Haven School Board because I want the children who attend our schools to receive the same quality of education my two daughters received. My youngest daughter is a graduate of Logan High School. Both of my daughters graduated from the University of California Berkeley. I want all the kids to have a quality education and the District to speak with one voice. "Trust" should be one of the words the Community and those who work for the District use when they talk about the District. We are going to elect 3 people who will represent over half of the Board. We are faced with the challenge of school closures and need strong leadership. I believe I can provide vision and leadership that will help us navigate through the tough times that lie ahead.

I hope to develop a better relationship with the city so we can combine our resources to better serve our citizens. I will work to develop a better relationship with the people who work in the District to avoid the constant threat of strikes. I will bring people into the District that will create opportunities for those within our District who are not college bound or lack the resources to attend at this time. I will also work to promote a new Race and Ethnic Committee to deal with racial issues before they blossom into violence. Our challenge is to market what makes New Haven successful so we will increase the number of students attending our schools. We have seen our attendance drop over the last 3 years. We are also looking at cutting programs and closing schools. I will work hard to avoid making any decisions without Community and those who work in the District having input in the process.

I think what would be unique is to try to make decisions at the District level using current resources as leverage for economic growth for those of us who live within the District. I think we should try to do creative things that raise money for our programs outside of conventional thinking. We have to create new ways of raising funds because the State no longer gives us the money that we need to maintain our programs. I would introduce apprenticeship programs to show our young people other career options. I would also try to get some of the venders and contractors we do business with to participate in our fund-raising efforts. Also, I would like to see entrepreneurship programs taken to a higher level.

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