The Issues

Student Growth – Every student in our school district should show a year’s worth of growth every year they are with us. This is our number one priority and while it sounds simple, each student comes to us with a different baseline starting point. It does matter where the student begins, they must continue to grow and we must customize our offerings and programs to best meet the needs of each individual student.

Budget – We must continue to innovate with our programs and partnerships so that even in these uncertain financial times we have the ability to improve our programs and maintain our excellent staff. We have been very prudent financially and we fortunately have the capacity to absorb changes in revenue handed down from the state. We must continue to advocate for financial stability from Lansing and Washington, DC and at the same time, we need to conservatively allocate resources to maintain the programs that are most beneficial to our students.

Infrastructure – We need to look long range when it comes to our school buildings and technology infrastructure. We need to take good care of our systems and look at creative ways of funding the replacement of these items as they fail or need to be improved. We will continue to look at things like leasing school busses and bonding for technology network infrastructure and safe comfortable learning space. We need to stop investing in dead end older parts of certain facilities and look to reallocate those resources to replacing those inefficient building areas.

Employees – We will continue to treat our employees with respect, professionalism and the admiration and appreciation they deserve. We should not build up a savings account on the backs of our employees. We have excellent staff members in Clarkston, and we need to do everything we can to keep those effective employees who are already acclimated to our family culture.

State Retirement Costs - When I was first elected to the board, the district was obligated to send only 12.99% of each payroll dollar to the state for retirement costs. Currently, this number is approximately 30%, with a target going to 40%. This is not sustainable. While the state has taken school aid fund money to keep retirement costs down, this is not a long -term solution.. We must advocate and work with the state legislature to come up with a lasting plan to keep these costs from escalating. I believe all employees in the system should be treated fairly and receive the benefits they've been promised. We must transition, however, to a defined contribution plan rather than the existing defined benefit plan. The state legislature must not continue to kick the can down the road just making the problem larger. We need to keep on advocating on this issue for some reasonable solutions.

The opinions and viewpoints expressed on this website are strictly my own personal opinions and in no way are meant to be an official position of the school board or the school district.