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Burger serves as school board president

Burger serves as school board president

September 5th, 2018 by Staff Reports in Local News

After his fourth year serving on the California school board, Philip Burger recently was elected as president.

Photo by Liz Morales/Democrat photo

A change of pace came to Philip Burger after the April 2018 general election, when he was elected as the new California school board president. This, however, was no feat too strange for him.

Even before serving on the school board, Burger was able to get his feet wet in community and district improvements.

"I worked on the CSI-Calmo bond issue a few years ago, even before I was on the board," Burger said. "That was the result of the bond issue that saw the finishing of the athletic complex field, bleachers, and everything that went with it."

After four years of serving on the board, Burger said he has been able to see many improvements in all the campuses, especially physical changes.

"One of the biggest things we did was save enough money from that bond to build the baseball field," Burger said. "The most important factor in that was the location of the original field. It was originally by Cargill, and that was a problem for the school. There were kids who had to carpool across town for games or practice, and we just thought it was better for everyone to have the field by the high school."

As far as the district goes, Burger certainly stays humble and doesn't wish to take all the credit in new advances.

"All the credit for the baseball field should go to Superintendent Sanders," Burger said. "He acted like a site foreman."

Sanders is one reason the California school district has been as successful as it has been, he said.

"We've had the same superintendent for the past few years," Burger said. "And that's good. There has been a good amount of continuity that goes along with that, too. That's good in this case."

Part of what the school board does, Burger explained, is to follow a code that is taken very seriously.

"We are seven voices with seven different opinions coming in," Burger said. "We leave with one vote and one decision. Before this, we listen to patrons, and that's the community, honor the chain of command and overall guide people to those who can guide and serve them best."

A function of the school board people may not realize is the board's responsibility to oversee and monitor the taxpayer's money and how it is used within the school, he said.

Overseeing an organization is nothing new to Burger. The 1982 graduate of California High School left town to earn a degree in business and marketing at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Upon returning to California, he joined the family business at Burgers' Smokehouse and eventually became the vice president.

Burger easily was able to translate running a company to being the president of the school board.

"Here there are quite a few employees who work together and follow the chain of command," Burger said. "That is not a lot different than the school district. Both are industrial buildings full of people with a fairly broad base of skills that offer those skills to the community.

"And that's one of the things I believe in. I think that if someone has a set of skills, they have an obligation to use them and give back to the community in any way that they can."

A great deal of pride for the school district is shown by Burger, who said the district benefits from fiscal soundness and reliable staff.

"The school board is here for everyone in the district," Burger said. "From the superintendent to the teachers and those in food service — they're all important to making the district strong."