Bruce Henson has been here before, more or less, 12 years ago, when he ran for a seat on the Hesperia City Council.
"What I was concerned about some mismanagement of the city. It seemed like no one was accountable for anything," said Henson, 51. "I ran a zero-dollar campaign, like I'm going to do this time."
"This time" is Henson's run for one of the two vacant seats on the Hesperia Unified School District school board.
Today, he's an Information Technology manager for the County of San Bernardino. He's also the father of a Sultana High School graduate and a current Sultana sophomore.
"I just see these holes in what could be done" in the schools, he said. "I'd love to see more private [sector], public [sector] partnerships. ... They need to get to the point where when the state screws up its budget, which they'll do every few years, we won't be hurt," partially by expanding the district's budgetary reserves.
Henson also wants to see a stronger focus on pointing students toward their future after graduation. Growing up in Illinois, he benefited from a vocational education class that taught him enough computer skills to get a job while still in high school.
"I'm seeing even my own children have no idea what they want to do with their life," he said. "Why don't we have those opportunities here, where white collar jobs are being launched out of our schools?"
He carries over his parent-centric viewpoint into other parts of his platform.
"I believe in parent-teacher communications," Henson said. "The parents should know what's going on with their students and be able to track it more easily."
Henson acknowledges that some campuses and some teachers are making good use of the Ed-Line Web pages established for their schools, but "that's not evenly implemented. There need to be some standards."
When his family moved to the High Desert, they consciously chose to put their children in the HUSD.
"We targeted what we thought were the better schools," he said. "Nowadays, it seems like you'd target the charter schools. ... Anything that supports increasing test scores and attendance should be brought in as soon as possible."
According to Henson, the district has got a solid foundation in place, but just needs to build on it.
"I think the board goals and objectives are great, well thought-out. Now, we have to figure out how to get there," he said. "That's been my career: Finding out people's needs and giving them solutions that exceed their expectations."
But he also doesn't pretend he has all the answers to the district's woes. But he knows who does.
"There's a lot of people across the board -- teachers, parents, staff, students -- with insight into the issues," Henson said. "There's a thousand good ideas out there."
Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.