Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/30/2010 05:08:58 PM PDT

RIALTO – Two incumbents are defending their seats on the school board against four challengers, one of whom is a self-described white nationalist.

Joanne Gilbert and John Kazalunas said Monday that Rialto Unified School District needs continuity in its leadership.

“We’ve got a lot of unfinished business on our board,” Kazalunas said.

The district needs to curb the dropout rate, even if that means knocking on doors to make sure kids are in school, Kazalunas said.

He said hiring Superintendent Harold Cebrun is the best decision the district has made in recent years.

Gilbert and Kazalunas agreed that Cebrun has brought stability to the district since taking over from Edna Davis-Herring, who resigned in 2008 after three new board members were elected.

Gilbert wants the district to work on renovating its older schools, which could be paid for, in part, from the $98 million Measure Y bond that will go before voters this year.

“We want to revitalize our old schools and make every student in our district proud of the schools they are attending,” Gilbert said.

Edgar Montes is one of the four challengers.

An operations supervisor for a pallet company, Montes said he also advocates for families and students, including a Big Bear Middle School seventh- grader who was ridiculed in class for wearing a T-shirt in support of Mexico’s World Cup soccer team.

Montes, who often attends Fontana City Council meetings, where he takes to task that city’s leadership, said the school district here should foster community partnerships and protect vocational training programs.

“I want to make sure kids are getting prepared for higher learning and make sure there are vocational programs for them,” Montes said.

Lacey Kendall is a local broadcaster and a media consultant for Cal State San Bernardino.

Kendall said Monday the district needs to take better care of its teachers.

“They need job security, and they haven’t had that in the most recent past,” Kendall said. “They need smaller classrooms, and they need resources as well.”

Sara Garcia is a retired food and hospitality worker who volunteers in various community groups.

She said safe schools and fiscal responsibility should be top priorities.

Garcia believes the board needs better representation from the community.

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