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OPINION: Tough Decision Looms for 2-Year BHS Board Seat

This writer believes Rob Herner is the right choice at this critical time for Bloomfield Hills Schools. Do you agree?

The Bloomfield Hills School District community has a difficult decision to make regarding the single open two-year School Board Trustee seat.

Two incumbents, Joan Berndt and Rob Herner,  are running, along with a third candidate.  Both incumbents are excellent candidates.  However, the next two years will be focused on getting the new Bloomfield Hills High School built, on time and on budget.  Because of his extensive background as the owner of a business that integrated technology into classrooms and because of his ability to ask the tough questions regarding the new high school, I feel that Rob Herner is the right candidate to help facilitate this project.  Rob believes that instruction should drive construction.  In addition, he will work to ensure that the district's resources are put toward educational goals.

This is a critical time in the Bloomfield Hills School District and I ask that you vote for Rob Herner for the two-year School Board Trustee seat.  He is the right candidate at the right time.

Julie Garcia,

Bloomfield Hills

The viewpoints in this letter are those of the writer, and Patch is not responsible for any ideas portrayed as facts. For questions and clarifications, please leave a comment below or contact editor Art Aisner at Art.Aisner@patch.com.

Ann November 02, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Thanks, Julie. This is truly a tough one, and I am grateful for the opinion of people whose opinion I respect.
Marcia Robovitsky November 02, 2012 at 03:00 AM
How interesting. The Opinion writer couldn't even mention the name of the third candidate: Jenny Greenwell. She has my vote. The two incumbents were appointed to fill vacated positions mid-term. On Nov. 6 VOTE: Jenny Greenwell. She is the right person for the two year position.
S Sera November 02, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Yes, per THE LAW they were appointed. It would be really great for the "watchdog" of the community to recognize lawful actions.
Marcia Robovitsky November 02, 2012 at 03:39 AM
I was stating a fact. Good grief. If you think I am the Community "Watchdog": here is something for all of you to think about: Go to another article on Patch where you can make a donation to Gleaners Food Bank to feed the hungry children. Make sure you give credit to OUR PATCH, Bloomfield-Bloomfield Hills in the donation form. http://bloomfield-mi.patch.com/articles/help-patch-fight-hunger-in-bloomfield
Neal Charness November 02, 2012 at 03:49 AM
She is truly unmentionable. She did it to herself, self inflicted wounds.
S Sera November 02, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Mrs. Robovitsky, I do believe that you are the person who labeled yourself the self-appointed "watchdog" of local government not I. Trust me I would have used another word to describe your writings.
Charles Gaba November 02, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I think it's important to remind people that they can learn much more about the candidates at their respective websites: For the 6-year term: Ingrid Day: http://ingridday.com Howard Baron: http://howardbaron.com For the 2-year term: Joan Berndt: http://berndt4bloomfield.com/ Rob Herner: http://herner4board.com/ And before anyone accuses me of "ignoring" Ms. Greenwell and Mr. Moigis, aside from the fact that it's not my job to promote candidates I don't support, that seems to be a moot point as neither appears to have a campaign website anyway.
Stephanie Crider November 02, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Julie, while I respect the work you've done to support students in BHS, I have to disagree with your opinion on this issue. Rob is solely focused on his business background, while Joan is focused on academics. Rob is promoting himself, while Joan is promoting ways to build/enhance relationships in our community. As a member of our senior population, Joan will help our school district relate to and support the needs and inquiries of senior citizens, those who make up 70% of our community. I would suspect that most people realize that focus on curriculum, our students' achievement, and bringing people together is more important! I should also mention that I have participated in several meetings, and heard the expertise of the firms BHS has hired, to realize that we should allow the experts to do what they were paid to do - build with quality while staying within the budget our community voted to uphold. I also believe that our new superintendent, Rob Glass, is capable of making sure this project is completed properly. To our community, look at everything you want from a board member and you'll understand why a former educator who focuses on all areas of student development is the better candidate. In addition, Joan's involvement in the sub-committees for BHS (under the Community Partnership Committee) prove that she is serious about eliminating tnnhe divide and bringing people together. Vote for Joan Berndt on November 6th!!
S Sera November 02, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Mrs. Crider, While I appreciate the work you have done with the Legacy Program, the point of a school district is to educate students. Last week you argued that having Mrs. Berndt on the board would enable her to help with curriculum. As I pointed out then this is the job of Mr. Glass and his team, not the school board. This week you say that it is about having her promote ways to build/enhance relationships with our community, and support the needs and inquiries of senior citizens. Isn’t the job of Shira Good to build/enhance relationships with the community and to address inquiries of all of the populace, which includes senior citizens? Looking at the new website and the community outreach committees that the district has created and continues to support I would say they are doing a pretty good job on that end. The job of the district isn’t to support the “needs” of senior citizens. Of course I am curious as to what needs you are referring to. Are they things that would be better addressed through the senior center?
S Sera November 02, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Continued….. So, I cant really agree with your reasoning for electing Mrs. Berndt since I really can’t see how having Mrs. Berndt, who you say focuses on all areas of student development (again the job of the administration and who’s main academic concern seems to only be the arts) will benefit this community during the building of the high school. Honestly, shouldn’t we as a community be focusing on making sure the candidate that gets elected isn’t Jenny Greenwell who’s only desire is to continue to foster hostility in the community while completely disregarding the future of our students. Our community's goal for the next two years is to get the high school built while the district's employees fulfill their mission of educating the students. This is what makes Rob Herner the best candidate to elect.
Joan G. Berndt November 02, 2012 at 09:12 PM
May I make a few comments, since previous ones seem to be far afield from what school board trustees are responsible, by law, for doing? School Board members are charged to set policy, hire a superintendent, and approve the annual budget. Period. We are not micro-managers. Therefore, Rob's expertise is nice to have to help us better understand the problems that might occur in the high school construction, but it is not crucial in determining how the project is completed. That is the job of the experts the District has hired to build the school. Likewise, it is not my job to micro-manage curricular decisions. That is the job of the experts our District has employed. However, since we have three businessmen and one engineer already on the Board, and no one other than myself who understands k-12 public education from the inside out, and since our mission is educating children, not constructing buildings, it makes sense, given the choice, to choose an educator to oversee the future of our children. We need to have a vision for our school district that is far bigger than just the next two years of a building project. What about the rest of our students--the pre-k to 8th grade kids? A Board trustee's major concern must be to set policy that will identify and then meet the needs of all our kids. And that is why it is important to have an educator on the Board.
M. Belden November 03, 2012 at 02:26 AM
And that's why we're voting for Joan! She's a very effective speaker and advocate.
Margaret Bloom November 03, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Julie, you are so right. This is a tough decision. As a musician and educator myself, I admire Ms. Berndt and would love to see her on the board. However, I have decided to vote for Mr. Herner for the following reasons: 1) While her specific expertise as a music educator is unique to the board, the voice she brings is not. Dr. El-Sayed is a highly regarded educator and, more importantly, all of the board members have generally been strong advocates for education. Beyond that, we have an entire staff of expertise in this area (not just a contractor). We need board members who make decisions in the best interest of our students, but as has been proven, they don't have to be educators to do that. Arts education is a passion of mine as well, and fortunately, our district has already made it a priority, so while Ms. Berndt's voice in advocating for the arts is great, it isn't a critical issue right now. 2) Mr. Herner's background is a great asset to the board because he has a very specific skill set that will allow him to help the board do what Ms. Berndt identified as a key responsibility: approve the annual budget. In some ways, I feel as though we get the best of both worlds with him because his business expertise is in the field of education. He knows exactly how contractors work with districts and will help to analyze the budget in ways no one else can. I think having more than one person on the board with deep financial expertise provides a good balance.
Margaret Bloom November 03, 2012 at 02:46 AM
(continued).... 3) And, I guess, the final issue for me is making sure a great board member gets seated. This tough decision for all of us could lead to an outcome many of us do not want, so I have to cast my vote in a way that I think best protects against that. Mr. Herner seems to have a lot of support and momentum and I think we need to stop arguing between two fine candidates so that we don't split the votes. Based on what I'm seeing as a look around and listen to my neighbors, Mr. Herner has the edge so I think a vote for him is the safest option.
Joan G. Berndt November 03, 2012 at 05:20 PM
To Margaret, We've never met but I appreciate your calm and very civil remarks in disagreeing with my opinions. Thank you. With all due respect, I need to disagree with some of your conclusions. First of all, Dr. El-Sayed is a university professor and talented engineer. Wonderful BUT not the same at all as being a K-12 public school educator with all the insight and expertise that experience brings to the Board. Secondly, Mr Herner's area of expertise is duplicated by the backgrounds of Mr. Baron and Mr. Ford. Balance on the Board is not achieved by having 3 business experts and zero public school experts. I believe this was one of several reasons that the ECCENTRIC and DOWNTOWN BIRMINGHAM papers endorsed me. Finally, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and I see the momentum definitely headed in my direction. I would ask people not to vote for "the safest option" but the best option for the future of all our students.

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