"If we don't know the answer we will tell you we don't know," Sussman told Backus.
Declining enrollment is occurring all over the city and the county, not just in Ocean View, Sussman said.
The two administrators, who spoke knowledgeably about the district, bring decades of experience to Ocean View.
Sussman retired in 2003 from the Downey Unified School District after 17 years as superintendent. Before that, he spent years as a middle-school and elementary principal, as well as a teacher. In 2002, Sussman was named Assn. of California School Administrators, Region 14 Superintendent of the Year.
As a gift for his 60th birthday, the district renamed South Middle School "Edward A. Sussman Middle School."
Rasmussen also has decades of experience as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent in the Huntington Beach City School District, from which he retired in 2005.
He served as superintendent of the Hermosa Beach City and the Merced City school districts. His son, Robert Rasmussen, is in his second year as a Marina High School teacher.
"It was an interesting crossover," Rasmussen said. "This is not an alien area."
They don't plan to be around for very long, but both hope to get a few things rolling in the next few months. If all goes well, no one will know they were here. After all, this is already an outstanding district, Sussman said.
"We hope to maintain the momentum so we just keep moving forward," Sussman said. "For us we're already planning ahead for next year."
The meeting may have been shy on parents, but district employees were more than happy to pop their heads in the room and shake hands with the new administrators.
"We are so lucky to get these two very experienced administrators to help the district through this period," district employee Julie Kent said.
"We have really been treated very well by staff and community members and the board," Sussman said. "The issues we're addressing, the board has been extremely supportive."
Their plans: continue the district-wide modernizations at school sites in need, expand full-time kindergarten, conduct demographic studies, and develop a comprehensive budget.
They also want to develop a five-year plan for the district and get the enrollment back up, both said more than once during the course of the meeting. The public schools need to offer more.
"If we didn't think we could do the job, we wouldn't be here," Sussman said.