By Chris Cooney
Bay City News Service
San Mateo County supervisor-elect Dave Pine says tackling budget issues and improving schools are at the top of his agenda after he is sworn in at the Tuesday, May 24, meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
"The campaign was intense," Pine said. "I'm trying to ramp up and get ready."
In the weeks since the May 3 election, in which Pine beat out five other candidates for the District 1 seat, the board's newest supervisor has been spending time with his family, finalizing staff decisions, and preparing to take on the county's greatest challenge: a projected $50 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2012.
"As a group, we will have to face up to the fact that we have a significant deficit and reserves are declining," Pine said.
During his tenure on the San Mateo Union High School District school board, on which he has served since 2007, fiscal responsibility was a primary focus, he said, and he will bring that focus to the Board of Supervisors as it prepares to begin budget hearings June 20.
"The first big challenge will be to get my arms around the details of the budget," he said.
Beyond fiscal matters, the former Redwood City planning commissioner and Burlingame School District board member said he is a passionate advocate for kids and education.
"I feel so strongly that investing in kids is the wisest use of our tax dollars," the father of two boys said.
He envisions a growing role for schools as community centers that could deliver a wide range of services and support programs to students and their families -- services such as health care that have traditionally been provided by county offices.
He used as an example the Taft Community School in the Redwood City School District, which partners with a variety of youth outreach groups to support an economically diverse student body. The Redwood City Police Activities League helps operate a community center at the school that connects kids to after-school programs, athletic programs and various social support services for families.
"The school becomes a center for all the services a family needs," he said.
Taft presents a successful service delivery model that could be replicated throughout the county, Pine said.
Pine will be sworn in when the board convenes at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
A ceremonial swearing-in celebration will take place Tuesday evening at Burlingame High School.