Election 2002: Kovanda stresses involvement

Ken Kovanda, whose four children have graduated from San Benito
High School, enjoys being involved with the school.
Ken Kovanda, whose four children have graduated from San Benito High School, enjoys being involved with the school.

“I enjoy serving. I spend a lot of time at this task and I go to a lot of activities,” said the 61-year-old SBHS Trustee. “My wife and I are always involved in something to do with the school. We go to all the plays, we go to seniors parents night. We are involved in this school, even though our children have left, we’re still a part of it.”

Kovanda said he has helped the Board accomplish good things during his first four-year term and he wants to continue to represent the high school.

That is why Kovanda is running for one of three open seats on the Board against incumbents Sylvia Sims DeLay and Judy Rider, and challengers Stefani Fowler, Jan Joseph and Bill Tiffany on Tuesday.

“We’ve made some great strides and are pursuing the freshman campus,” Kovanda said. “We let out the contract before the water control board made its decision on building in Hollister.

“Everybody wants smaller class sizes. We were able to finance it over the last 10 years by judiciously watching our money very carefully and saving it for this new campus. We don’t have all the money yet, but we have enough to cover Phase One.”

Kovanda is pleased with improvements to the school’s discipline policies, most recently the Board’s decision to have suspensions served on campus.

“We now have in-house discipline, where when somebody is suspended for five days they no longer go home and watch television for five days, but they go to a special room where they are given their assignments to do.”

The school’s zero-tolerance policy, which came under fire earlier this year for inconsistencies, is regulated fairly by the Board, Kovanda said.

“We feel we are very fair with each student that comes to us and the decision we make is what’s best for the student,” Kovanda said. “We feel as a Board the decisions that are made are good decisions although they may not be popular with the parents of the students.”

The current Board revised the zero tolerance policy and Kovanda feels that students caught with alcohol or marijuana should not be immediately expelled but serve a five-day suspension. But for students who bring guns, he believes there should be zero tolerance.

“We have a very safe campus,” Kovanda said. “Other schools look at our school as a leader in safety and actually come to see how we do it. We feel the students are very safe at that school.”

One of the most important jobs as a Trustee is to hire a new superintendent, a process the Board is currently accomplishing, Kovanda said.

“I enjoyed my four years on the Board,” he said. “I feel that we can always make improvements and we’re striving to do that. Any problems people feel that we need to improve on we’d be glad to listen to their concerns, and if there’s a possibility for change and it is necessary, we will make that change.”

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