10:00 PM PDT on Saturday, May 8, 2010

By DAYNA STRAEHLEY
The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Young said he has the financial expertise to oversee districts’ budgets.

Challenger Dale Kinnear, a high school principal, said the job requires a leader with experience as an educator.

Challenger Arthur Murray said the position requires both. He points to his experience as the interim superintendent of Delano Joint Union High School District in Central California.

Young said his financial background is more important than ever as districts cut their budgets.

His office provides fiscal oversight for the 23 school districts in Riverside County and offers training for teachers, principals, administrators and district superintendents.

He called the county office a service and oversight agency.

Young was a CEO in private industry for 14 years before becoming the chief financial officer of Lake Elsinore Unified School District for nine years. Young became deputy superintendent of the Riverside County office of education in 2004 and was appointed superintendent in 2007.

Young has the endorsements of all 23 district superintendents in Riverside County and school board members and political and community leaders across the county.

From his experience, Young said running the county office is far different from running a district.

“At the county level, you don’t run schools. You run programs that are at school sites,” he said.

Murray also worked in school districts in Sacramento, Pomona and San Bernardino, he said when he ran for a Moreno Valley school board seat. He said he has been an elementary school teacher, middle school administrator and high school assistant principal and dean before moving into district administration. He did his doctoral research at the California Youth Authority on the perceptions of young offenders toward teachers.

Educating youths

Murray said he has lived in Riverside County about 10 years. He also ran for a seat on the Riverside Unified School District board.

“I have a very strong passion for educating kids,” he said.

Murray said many young people aren’t going to college. Although he called schools’ emphasis on language arts and math great, training in vocational skills is lacking. Murray said he wants to bring back Regional Occupational Programs that have been eliminated and are run by the Riverside County office of education.

He also envisions centers in communities to bring teens and young adults back to school after they have dropped out.

Lead by example

Kinnear, principal at J.W. North High School in Riverside, said voters are being asked to choose between the Riverside County office of oversight and Riverside County office of education. .

To read entire story, click here.