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New Bremerton School Board member Rubie promises transparency, hopes to bring back P.E.

For new Bremerton School Board member Dave Rubie, the third time's a charm.

Rubie vied for a spot on the board twice last year. He applied to a board opening and ran for another spot in the primary election, which was ultimately won by board member Scott Rahm.

But after former board member Louis Mitchell suddenly resigned in February, Rubie, 49, saw yet another opportunity to take a seat on the board. He was selected Thursday by the school board in a 4-0 vote over home business owner Jim Higgins.

"It's all about persistence," Rubie said, smiling after his appointment.

Rubie co-chaired the Bremerton School District's levy campaign, which voters passed in February, and he is vice president of the Bremerton Council PTSA. He is also a regular volunteer at Crownhill Elementary, where is son is in fourth grade.

A Washington State University alumnus and a former flight instructor, Rubie said education is a longtime interest of his. Hired onto the board in the midst of budget deliberations, he said the district's budgeting process will be his first priority when he takes the oath May 6.

Rubie said the school board will have to make some tough choices to deal with an approximately $650,000 reduction in state dollars, but he believes that if students come first, the budget will be successful.

"Some groups are probably going to be more unhappy than others," he said. "If we keep the goal of keeping the kids' good education in mind, I think everyone else will be happy."

The most common feedback he hears from parents and teachers is concerns over last year's cutbacks in music, physical education and library programs, which are things he hopes to bring back.

"The cuts, especially in P.E., really adversely affect the kids in school," Rubie said. "Putting that back in would mean a lot."

The school board has fielded multiple rounds of criticism in recent years, and resignations and elections have fueled turnover in four of the five seats in the last year. Higgins, after Rubie's appointment, sent a letter to local media slamming the board for its lack of transparency.

"They can't even figure out why good families with good kids leave the district," he wrote in an additional e-mail to the Bremerton Patriot, adding that he was happy for Rubie because he's a "great guy."

But Rubie said he is unperturbed by the recent criticism and pledged to earn the public's trust.

"I will be as open as I possibly can about everything on the board," he said. "I plan on looking forward, not looking back, and not dwelling on the past."

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