Filing deadline nears for school boardPublished 3:13pm Thursday, January 14, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
School districts across the state are recognizing the school boards this month whose trustees and officers guide those districts in their operations, their efforts focused on giving students in Michigan the best possible education. Those boards are also gearing up for an election, slated for May, an election that will present quite an experience for incoming members.
Budget cuts, changing mandates and standards and an increasing focus on quality of curriculum in the increasingly competitive world of education.
“The challenges, obviously, are with the finance (issues) with the state,” Della Holdread, president of the Edwardsburg Public Schools board, said Tuesday.
A member of the board for 27 years, Holdread has seen her share of changes and, as it were, changing faces at the table.
She may just see two more, with two spots up for grabs on the board this year.
Trustees Doug Hall and Michael Gordon face expiring terms.
Though elections aren’t until later in the year, now is the time for candidates to file their petitions with the Cass County Clerk.
The positions are four-year terms.
“Each board, I have to say, is very different and unique,” Holdread said. “Ours is very cut and dry.”
Over the years, Holdread said the school board has become more proficient. Trustees meet once a month and Holdread said it has been her experience to let her superintendent work for the board.
“I always tell people they can make the job as hard as they want,” she said.
A good fit when it comes to the school board, Holdread said, would be someone “who is interested in the entire system and not just interested in one thing” and “they have to have their eyes open.”
Michigan’s economy, shrinking budgets and now the issue of Race to the Top are just a few key issues school boards across the state are facing in the coming years. Such issues or challenges, however, shouldn’t deter those interested in serving the school district from running for a seat on the school board.
“Michiganders benefit every day from the dedicated energies and countless hours devoted by a group of more than 4,000 men and women across the state,” Superintendent Sherman Ostrander said in a statement highlighting School Board Recognition Month issued last week. “These public servants are elected to serve by our community and receive little recognition for the difficult job that they do.
“They are dedicated individuals who are committed to the continuing success of our schools and students,” he said.
Edwardsburg board members, the superintendent said, are responsible for making decisions for the district, which holds an annual budget of more than $20 million, educates 2,700 students and employs 272 within its seven buildings.
As Ostrander recognized the board along with the state, he said “we proudly join educators and community members in saluting these education advocates as they provide vision and leadership for student achievement, academic programs, district funding and school facilities.
“Their service ensures that decisions about local public schools are made by those most familiar with the needs of our community’s children and families,” he continued. “They preserve the core of our democracy-public education.”
Those eligible to run must be a registered voter in the school district they are running for, at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the State of Michigan for at least 30 days as well as a resident of the intended district on or before the 30th day prior to election.
Petitions and affidavit forms are available at the Cass County Clerk’s office.