OPINION: Vote Daniels, Weber for Niles school board

Published 1:30 pm Saturday, October 22, 2022

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Over the past decade, my three children have attended elementary, middle and high school at Niles Community Schools. During this time, the district has made wonderful improvements in educational opportunities and physical facilities. I wholeheartedly endorse the re-election of Dana Daniels and Mark Weber to the NCS Board of Education because they have helped make these great things happen in our district.

In each interaction that our family has had with Mr. Daniels at school events, he has asked thoughtful, pertinent questions that focus on the well-being of NCS students. We have seen Mr. Weber use his leadership and team-building skills to create effective community partnerships that bolster student success.

As for the new candidates, they seem primarily motivated by their opposition to specific issues rather than by a constructive vision for our district. Also, per their campaign signs, these candidates claim the priorities of “faith, family, freedom.” While these are bedrock values for society in general, they are not the primary considerations when administrating public schools. In fact, in a public school system, protecting the First Amendment right of the separation of church and state should take priority over religious preference; choosing what is best for the school community as a whole should be elevated over the demands of a specific family; and establishing appropriate guidelines for student safety is necessary to provide an environment where students can learn.

School board members must be able to hold these values in proper perspective to make the best decisions for all types of families of all types of faiths in our district. A more appropriate school board election statement would be “academic excellence, community, respect.” Dana Daniels and Mark Weber have shown us that they can keep these important values at the forefront as they serve Niles Community Schools.

To be frank, I am worried that electing inexperienced members whose priority is achieving victory on religious-based, politicized issues will sideline our school board, stall the progress that has been made in our district and perhaps even take us into a regression. I strongly encourage you to re-elect Dana Daniels and Mark Weber because they have the know-how, the heart for our community, and the proven track record to move us forward with the right priorities. They will continue to build up our school system for the good of each student and our community as a whole. Go Vikes!

Chrissie Kaufmann

Niles, MI