Letter: Elect best and brightest candidates to school boards this fall
Quality citizen oversight of local governments is more critical now than ever. This starts with electing quality individuals to positions within our local governments, as challenging as that may be. There are a number of issues facing school districts across the state, but two should be given top consideration when evaluating school board candidates this November.
First, districts must ensure the quality of education being delivered to students is the best possible. Whether at home or in person, the quality of the education will face tougher scrutiny as extracurricular activities are limited. Districts and teachers will be faced with an unprecedented challenge of teaching new material and helping students who fell behind after schools were closed or moved online in earlier this year.
Across the state, school districts will need to be innovative, and local school boards will have an incredible oversight role. Disparities in education are at a great risk of being widened amidst COVID-19, even in the state’s best districts.
Second, districts must closely monitor finances to avoid developing a habit of deficit spending. As a result of COVID-19, districts in Michigan are facing a reduction in state aid. In Grosse Pointe, the current board of education approved a budget that included over $4 million in deficit spending for the upcoming year.
If Grosse Pointe continues on this path for 2021-22, the district could trigger an automatic pay cut for teachers. Local school boards must provide proper oversight to assure their communities that the financial stability of their district is not jeopardized in these times.
Every school district in Michigan simply wants the best for its students, and every community knows what is best for their children. In Grosse Pointe, we place a heavy emphasis on the importance of effective local control, and for good reason. Come November, we must embrace this principle and act as our own quality control department when electing members of the school board.
We can elect candidates who campaign on tangential political issues, or we can elect candidates who are actually concerned about delivering top-notch education to students and effective oversight of district administration. The choice is ours.
William Broman, Grosse Pointe
Law student, Wayne State University Law School