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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election

Riverside County Board of EducationCandidate for Member, Trustee Area 5

Photo of Ralph R. Villani

Ralph R. Villani

19,181 votes (35.84%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • An advocate for public education and appropriate funding for public education.
  • I want our State representatives including the Governor to place the highest priority in providing appropriate funding for public education.
  • A communication process to keep public aware of what is happening in the Riverside County Schools and the 23 local districts in Riverside County.



Profession:Former district superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, teacher, and part-time college professor.
Riverside County Board of Education, Board of Education — Elected position (2012–current)
Area Director, California Retired Teachers Association — Elected position (2004–2012)
Santa Monica Community College District, Board of Trustees — Elected position (1990–1994)
Los Angeles County Grand Jury, Jury Member — Appointed position (1991–1992)
Assistant Superintendent, Culver City Unified School District (1981–1991)
District Superintendent, Fall River Jt. Unified School District (1978–1981)


University of Northern Colorado Doctorate in Educational Managment, Educational managment (1981)
University of Southern California Masters of Science, Education (1958)
University of Southern California Bachelor of Science, Business (1953)

Community Activities

Member, Board of Directors, Palm Springs Community Concert Association (2010–2014)
Member, Board of Directors, Redwood Recovery Foundation (1994–1996)
Member, US Army (1953–1955)
Member, California National Guard (1950–1953)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Kenn Young, Riverside County Superintendent of Schools
  • California Retired Teachers Association Divisions in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
  • Stan Sniff, Riverside County Sheriff

Organizations (8)

  • Democratic Club of Riverside County
  • Democrats of the Desert
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Riverside County Democratic Club
  • eVolve
  • Stonewall Democratic Club of Palm Springs
  • Democratic Women Club
  • California Retired Teachers Association, Riverside County

Elected Officials (11)

  • Ginny Foat, Member, Palm Springs City Council
  • Elizabeth Romero, Member, Riverside County Board of Education
  • James Williamson, Member, Palm Springs Unified School Board
  • Steve Hovey, Member, Beaumont Unified School District Board of Education
  • Wayne Hackney, Member, Beaumont Unified School District Board of Education
  • Susie Lara, Member, Beaumont Unified School District Board of Education
  • Mary Jane Sanchez, President, Board of Trustees, College of the Desert
  • Jay Hoffman, Member, Riverside County Board of Education
  • Jeanie Corral, Member, Riverside County Board of Education
  • Cris Mills, Member, Palm Springs City Council
  • Geoff Kors, a member of the Palm Springs City Council

Individuals (7)

  • Lee Hackney, Beaumont Community member
  • Donald Aikens, a retired member of the Palm Springs Unified School Board of Education
  • Lisa Middleton, Chair, Palm Springs Planning Commission
  • Susan Francis, CEO, Ophelia Project
  • Peter Moruzzi, moderism activist
  • Joseph Farley, retired school district superintendent
  • Art Townley, retired school district superintendent

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Paid Medical Benefits for Elected Board Members


Is it appropriate for elected school board members to receive public funds to pay for medical benefits?

I don't believe that elected Riverside County Board members should receive funds to pay for medical benefits.  First of all, it sometimes becomes the main reason for running for this important office.  It does take a certain amount of time to hold an office such as school board member or water district board member.  But one should not be interested in holding such an office just for benefits.  It is more important to elect individuals who want to serve the community.  The cost of providing medical benefits to Riverside school district or other similar boards can be as high as $15,000 year.  For seven board members, this could be well over $100,000 per year.  These funds should be used to improve the educational program.  I do agree that there should be some stipend to cover the expenses of attending meetings and for traveling expenses.  But not the high cost of medical benefits.  If reelected, I again will  not accept paid medical benefits.

Setting the Record Straight about Common Core


As a Riverside County Board Member and a leader of 23 school districts in the County, it is my duty to inform the public about key educational issues.  One of these important issues is to provide factual information about California Common Core Standards.  

Recent negative statements about Common Core made during the GOP debates require that factual information about Common Core be explained to public members.  The Common Core State Standards are a set of K-12 educational standards in math and language arts.  These standards were created by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief School Officers as a result of requests from colleges and employers.

It is important to understand that Common Core Standards are intended for states who choose to use them and are not a national requirement.  So far, 45 states have adopted Common Core, including California.

Educational leaders can tell you that Common Core provoides for clear standards in order for all to see if students are making progress.  The standards are used as guides for expectations and learning progress.  Students receive an education that prepares them for college or work, and for life after high school.  Parents will be able to compare their child's school to other schools.  Most importantly, teachers will have clear classroom expectations of their students in  order to help them learn.

Some politicians running for high offices are saying that Common Core will result in a national curriculum and will be  dictated from the federal government. But, Common Core is not a curriculum.  It is only a set of standards or goals and expectations.  Curriculum will still be developed locally by teachers, principals, superintendents and local boards of education.


California Funding for Students


When asked, California citizens want more spending for children in our public schools.  Proof of this is in the passage of Proposition 30, which promised more funding for education.

California now ranks 29th in the nation overall in how much is spent per student.  That's $11,841 in 2016.  Before Proposition 30 was passed, California ranked 47 compared to all other states in the nation, or about $9,000 per student.  The passage of Proposition 30 demonstrated that the public wanted local schools to restore art and music programs, reopen closed libraries, decrease class sizes and add more teachers, counselors and administrators.  Voters took notice of what was happening in our schools and did something about it.  However, our schools could be facing another crisis.  California is still not providing enough funding to local disricts.  Local school districts are improving what and how we educate children. But there still is a need for increased funding. Furthermore, we can't let our schools be taken over by "for profit" organizations, and that is exactly what will happened unless we continue to increase funding of public education.  When most of us attended local public schools, we were part of a world class education.  Passing Proposition 30 was a big step in the right direction.  Let's continue this direction so that our children will receive a world class education once again.



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