SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The Santa Maria Bonita School District has a new leader. At the beginning of the month, Luke Ontiveros, officially started his position as the Superintendent of the school district.
“Our focus really needs to be what are we preparing students for in their futures,” says Ontiveros.
He is no stranger to the job. Before accepting the position he was the Superintendent for a school district in Southern California. This is a homecoming of sorts for him, Ontiveros is a Santa Maria native.
“An opportunity to reconnect with family and a chance to give back to the community that I’m so grateful to have been raised in was something too good to pass up,” he says.
On his list of duties, he’ll have to face topics like the one that concerns Brit Osmonson. “They are so underfunded it puts classrooms at 30 students to 1 teacher ratio and I don’t think that’s going to be a learning environment conductive to their grown,” she says. Osmonson says her and her husband have decided to home school their son who will be going into Pre-K this year.
“We are going to need to look at additional facilities, new facilities, for schools, we are going to have kids coming into school next month that have never been to school and we need to accommodate,” says Ontiveros. He says he’s ready to accommodate the growing population of students here in the district.
For parents like Jennifer Ellsworth she says, “communication within the community, bringing service events outward, trying to get parents involved I think those things are needed.”
It’s something Ontiveros agrees with. “Engaging parents, uncles, aunts, whoever is responsible for those kids, we need to connect around some common purposes and elevate the entire community,” he says. Ontiveros will be leading a district of more than 17,000 students.