Olivas steps down from school board, District looking to fill open seat

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Winters Joint Unified School Board Trustee Michael Olivas announced his resignation from the school board Thursday evening at the Jan. 16 meeting.

He said he had been thinking about it for some time as he has other big projects coming up that will take him away from school board duties, and that he felt he hadn’t been able to put in enough energy to be involved with the various activities.

Olivas has served as the Winters JUSD Area 3 Trustee for the past nine years and said he’s very proud of what the group has done as a board.

“I feel that as a board we have accomplished a lot. There’s still a lot to  be accomplished, there’s still a lot of work, but I think it’s time for me to move on,” Olivas said.

Rudolph Muldong, school board president, noted it was impressive that in addition to his work as a Trustee Olivas’ also contributed his expertise and volunteered his time as a community member to other school related ventures. Muldong presented Olivas with a plaque to commemorate his nine years working on the Winters JUSD school board.

Rob Warren, school board clerk and previous school board president, told the Express that Olivas’ experience as a developer was an asset to the board, as well as his passion to support students.

“Mike’s knowledge of facilities was a great advantage for the district, and his desire to see our students achieve their best results,” said Warren.

At the meeting Superintendent Todd Cutler also noted on Olivas’ commitment to all of the things that mattered to the board. Olivas regularly voiced opinions, concern and support in regards to improving facilities at school sites and pushing for more support to help improve student performance and achievement.

“Those efforts have not been unnoticed and they have made a genuine impact. So thank you for your time,” Cutler said.

Cutler also told the Express that Olivas had three big areas of impact he contributed during his tenure. He said Olivas brought his expertise as a developer to help inform the board about building facilities, what it all takes, the rules and regulations around it.

Olivas drove home the importance behind reviewing and discussing student performance data and called for the board and school district administrators to have plans in place to meet the needs of all students.

“He really cares about kids. He cares about how we are supporting children and he has demonstrated that year in and year out,” Cutler said.

Cutler said the school board works together, each bringing their own talents, skills and strengths to support students and staff and make cohesively thought out decisions for the betterment of the district.

“It’s the work of the entire board, as five different individuals, and them bringing their ideas together in consensus and moving forward on their consensus, on their interest as a group of five. That is the power of what is accomplished,” said Cutler.

Olivas has currently been involved with the Hotel Winters project serving as an investor, Managing Member for Hotel Winters LLC, an owner, developer for the project and majority investor in the Hotel Winters Restaurant Event Center. He mentioned his next big project will take him up toward Colusa, which would take him away from local duties in the school district.

“I think it’s time for someone else to come in and maybe stir it up a little bit and see if we can’t do some more,” said Olivas.

Trustees are elected members and OIivas’ current term was set to expire in 2022. Winters JUSD has already begun searching within the community to find an individual to fill the open seat left vacant by Olivas.

According to policy the district has 60 days to fill the seat from the day of resignation. The board must choose to either appoint a Trustee or call for a special election at their Feb. 6 meeting.

Cutler is currently reaching out to Winters residents who are living within the Trustee Area 3 zone to find interested individuals. Requirements to apply for a school board seat are individuals who are 18 years of age or older and live in the specific Trustee Area zone (See map).

His plan is to recommend the board appoint a selected individual of recommendation to serve as the Trustee Area 3 board member. The Trustee Area 3 seat will then appear on the November 2020 ballot, alongside Trustee Area 1 (currently held by Ralph Anderson) and Trustee Area 5 (currently held by Muldong). Both Trustee Areas 1 and 5 have terms expiring in 2020.

If the board approves to appoint versus to call for a special election, then a sub-committee will be formed and applications will be made available online and at the Winters JUSD office. Cutler said his goal is to interview, select and seat a new Trustee by the March 5 school board meeting, well before the 60 day deadline.

Anyone living in the Trustee Area 3 zone who has questions or would like to know more can contact the Assistant to the Superintendent, Anietta Kelley, at akelley@wintersjusd.org.


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