BARSTOW Candidates running for a seat on Barstow's school district board were given an additional chance to tell people why they should be elected before residents go to the polls Nov. 2.

Barstow Community College's student government continued its second night of candidate forums Wednesday. Students gave each Barstow Unified School District candidate five minutes to introduce themselves and state what they would implement or change if elected.

Robert Myers A graduate of Barstow High School, Myers said he had served as a member of Kiwanis, the Elks Club and the junior chamber of commerce in his youth. He also held seats on the hospital board and Desert Dispatch's advisory board, he said.

He attended college at Barstow Community College, Chaffey College, University of California Riverside and Northern Arizona University where he earned a master's degree in business education. Myers said he taught at Barstow High School, was assistant principal for three years and principal at Central High School before becoming an assistant superintendent for BUSD.

As BUSD assistant superintendent he worked with the personnel office and school board as well as teachers and classified staff. He also hired certified staff members. Myers said has talked about smaller class sizes and good salaries for teachers.

"Student success and teacher happiness go kind of hand-in-hand," he said, adding that his goal is to put every student on a path to graduation. "There's always a chance where you should make your employees feel good about what they're doing. With (my) background I will be able to work closely with the leadership at the district office and the teachers and staff."

Everette Odegaard A Hinkley resident since 1974, Odegaard said he had grown up on a farm in North Dakota and was one of 11 children. He enlisted in the Marine Corp and did a tour of duty in Japan and Korea. He moved to Barstow with his family in 1974 as an employee for Contel.

"I served for two years on a negotiation committee on the union side of the table and after being promoted spent another two more years on the phone company's side," Odegaard said, adding that he has experience managing personnel. "My experience with the telephone company have prepared me to be a fair and knowledgeable leader."

Odegaard said he knows how to analyze data and be thorough in determining if information is complete before acting on it. If elected, he said he'll serve as an objective board member.

"I will be accountable to the Barstow Unified School District board," he said. "I don't come with an agenda on how the (problems) with the school district need to be resolved. I will be a team player."

His son graduated from Barstow High School in 1984 and his granddaughter graduated from BHS in 2001. He has a great grandson going through the BUSD school system that's in second grade.

Raymond Perea Perea graduated from Barstow High School and Barstow Community College. He has worked at the Santa Fe rail yard, the Marine Corp Logistics Base, Barstow High School and Barstow Community College.

Perea has been a classified employee and a teacher with BUSD. He has also coached track at BHS and currently coaches the Barstow cross country team. He has also been the athletic director for Barstow Community College for 20 years.

"My experience as a Barstow College administrator and instructor for over 30-plus years will bring insight into issues involving collective bargaining, budget development and management as well as curriculum development," he said. "I care about this community and want to serve."

Perea spoke about the state budget, saying that the shortfall could result in school closures, staff reductions, poor instruction quality due to higher class sizes. The board must meet these challenges with priorities and solutions that directly affect the classroom.

Staff must be treated respectfully and made aware that all positions are important to the overall development of students, he said. Displaying a caring attitude will help improve test scores.

Barbara Rose Rose is seeking a second term as a member of the BUSD school board. Rose said she is deeply rooted in the community as a parent and a grandmother.

She works as an administrative secretary for Barstow Community College. Rose is also president of Barstow Community College's chapter of the California School Employees Association and is a political action coordinator for CSEA at the state level.

"As an incumbent and currently vice president of the board, I have five years experience of making some really difficult decisions like necessary budget cuts to making some really easy ones like what's best for our children," she said. "(Parents) want who is experienced, someone who does not have a learning curve, someone who's willing to fight for education."

As a parent, grandparent and taxpayer, Rose said she wants the best decisions made at the school district level. Rose said she would continue to be an effective member and would ensure that decisions made are effective and efficient. She would also ensure that waste is identified and eliminated.

She is capable of providing responsible oversight and accountability, she said. The next few years will be tougher, she said, because the school district is looking at doing more with less.

Ben Rosenberg Rosenberg said he has been in Barstow for about 20 years and runs Barstow Station with his brother. Before then, he was a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service for eight years, which helped him go through school.

Health reasons forced Rosenberg to look for another career and he became involved with Barstow Station, he said. About 10 years ago, Rosenberg was elected to serve as a director for the Barstow Fire Protection District board.

"I know what it is to be an elected government official," he said. "Where this comes into play is that the Barstow Fire Protection District uses the same county finance system as the school district does. I know how to read and translate county budgets."

Rosenberg said he wouldn't be on the board to micromanage but to set policy. If he were elected, the one employee he would communicate with would be the superintendent.

He and his wife took in two children on his wife's side of the family, Rosenberg said. And he became involved with the school district. He has been going to school board meeting for about six months.

"The biggest issue is money from the state of California," he said. "This is not the problem just here in Barstow. It's a problem statewide."

Gene Stoops Stoops moved here with his family in 1957 and graduated from Barstow High School in 1967. He had worked at many different places, mostly machine shops, auto and motorcycle dealerships. He had been employed with the railroad until he was laid off in the early 1980s. Stoops then got a job with the school district.

He transferred to the maintenance department and worked there as a welder. For the last 13 years he was a maintenance supervisor, making him part of the business department. The budget has been a focal point of the district for years, he said.

"As numbers have gone down we lose money every time we lose a kid," he said. "I believe I have a lot to offer the school district. The general knowledge of what a lot of the departments do will go along way toward helping departments (decide) where to cut."

Stoops said his department had to make the job fit the money. Important issues he feels the district is facing, is the budget, low test scores, drop out rates and attendance, which translates into funding for the school district.

"I hope to bring a commonsense approach to the board," he said. "We cannot fail the children. They are the future of the community and the country."

BUSD incumbent Ernest Vogt was unable to attend the forum.

The candidate forum will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable Channel 6 and posted on Barstow's Web site at www.barstowca.org.