Local school boards are not a "team sport," and diversity of opinion often leads to enhanced discussion, examination of issues and better outcomes.
Here in the Bloomfield Hills School district, we have a board of 7 trustees who agree on pretty much everything. Most decisions are 7-0, and those votes follow very little discussion and no debate at all.
If all seven Trustees agree on everything, then why do we need seven? Why not have ONE trustee?
Because discussion and debate begets better outcomes, that's why.
I don't agree with a lot of the decisions our school board has made over the past few years. For instance, I would not have voted to award a contract to Fielding Nair International, a virtual consultant, for $863,114 from our 2004 Sinking Fund. I would have chosen the low bidder, Ehresman Associates, a Michigan firm, for a contract award of $195,000. Both are qualified bidders who responded to the same Request for Proposals that was published by the BHSD. Why pay so much more for the same service? This vote passed 6-0, with soon-to-quit David Lubin absent.
I don't agree that financial issues should appear on stealth ballots. I would not have approved a $70,000 expense for a school bond vote in May. I know that the best way to get valid community input is at the polls, in an even-year November election. In general elections, the BHSD pays only the printing costs for the portion of the ballot that concerns schools. In a single-issue election, we pay the entire cost of the election. Ridiculous!
I would have voted to KILL the plan for an employees-only medical clinic. Right now, the project is tabled. The start-up cost of this fiasco has gone from $80,000 to $500,000 to $1.5-million. We are already paying a "health care consultant" and BHS employees have already made a "site visit" to one or more medical clinics in Florida. If I am not elected, this plan will be back before the board, and approved, ASAP. It's a bad idea, and a waste of precious education funds.
As to our new high school, I don't agree that a 12-lane pool makes any sense at all. Two smaller pools would be better; one for competition, one for lessons and practice. A 12-lane pool is a small lake, and unless we plan to teach indoor sailing, I think this part of the new high school plan should be changed. Eight lanes are plenty for high school competitions. There isn't enough parking at teh site to handle a state event, anyway.
I don't agree that Hickory Grove school should have been closed. The school was fully-enrolled, and served a large geographic section of our community. The school was not operating at a financial deficit. Why close it? Closing Hickory Grove was a mistake, and I would not have voted to do it.
Six year terms? An obvious mistake. I would never have voted to circumvent voters and extend my own term, as all seven of our Trustees did. Sure, we'll be back to 4-year terms in a few years, maybe, but look at the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot: Six year terms for BHS Trustees. Another mistake. Six year terms are why we have two appointees on the board. Both chosen with just FIVE votes, from their board peers.
Public education is being taken out of the hands of the public, and that's the biggest mistake of all.
We need one or more independent thinkers, who represent taxpayers of this district. That's why I'm running: The BHSD needs a better board of education.
We need a Trustee who directs spending to the classroom, where it belongs. Not on consultants, more consultants, and junkets to Florida.
Let's spend education tax dollars on education, instead.
Please vote for me (for BHSD Board of Education Trustee, 2-year term) on Nov. 6. I bring diversity of thought to the Board of Education table. We need it now, more than ever.