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Letter to the Editor: Northville School Board Makes Big Decisions, Vote Wisely

LAN chair Christa DiNapoli reflects on some of the big decisions the board has had to make in past years.

- The following letter to the editor was submitted by Christa DiNapoli, Chair of the Legislative Action Network of the Northville Council of PTAs

Northville voters have a choice this November. Current Northville Board of Education trustees Cynthia Jankowski and Matthew Wilk are joined by Michael Barrett, Roland Hwang and Adam Phelps in a five-person race for three open seats on the Board. 

The PTA Legislative Action Network will host a Candidate Forum on Monday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hillside Middle School Forum.  Please take this opportunity to learn more about the candidates.  Audience members will also have an opportunity to submit questions.

These five individuals have agreed to give of their time and talent to serve our community. Those elected will undoubtedly face serious and often controversial decisions as they serve their four year terms. Over the past several years the Board, along with the administration, has had to make nearly $10 million in budget cuts, the results of which include reductions in programs and services, the institution of pay-to-participate fees for athletics and extra-curricular activities, contracting out transportation and custodial workers, and higher class sizes.  The decision to eliminate much-loved programs or say goodbye to staff is never an easy one, and Board members must carefully weigh options before arriving at those decisions.

The Board has also grappled with offering choice to balance the needs of a relatively small percentage of families or students with the majority. For example, the Board made a decision to offer a choice between abstinence-based and abstinence-only health classes. More recently, they chose to continue offering a half-day kindergarten program for those families who felt strongly about having this option as the district transitioned to full-day kindergarten.

Moving forward, the Board is likely to deal with many more difficult decisions.  As voters, we should learn as much as possible about the candidates and their views on key issues that affect our schools. We hope to see you at the Candidate Forum on Monday.

Who are you backing for school board? Interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor? Email it to nancy.kelsey@patch.com.

Patrick J Oneil September 20, 2012 at 07:29 PM
The board also voted to hire another administrator at the high school, money that would have been better spent on teachers to reduce class sizes. High school classes are unsafe at the numbers they are packing into rooms. There are 38 students in my step-daughter's science class. Students alternate labs due to lack of proper equipment. Northville is now, at best a less than average district.
Denise Nash September 22, 2012 at 03:01 AM
We all need to know who is responsible for the attack on our public schools, and it isn't the school board, who react to the changes forced upon our district. We need to know, and make educated votes, starting with the vote this November for our state representative. We can slow down the march toward corporate dominance in education by voting the current representatives OUT of OFFICE. If we turn the house, it will no longer be a rubber stamp for the current policies of cutting costs for public education while writing check after check to businesses. A compromise is always the best outcome, especially when the two parties are as far apart as they are now.
parent September 28, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Patrick you are correct! Denise do you realize that Plymouth Canton schools have less/student fund equity and yet they provide so much more? Who's fault is that? The State? They receive less and yet they do more. Hmmm I think I call that wise planning. That is what has been lacking in this Distrcit with its SPEND HAPPY BOARD for far too many years. It is not the STATE's fault for a Board that DID NOT plan for the bleak years, even after they were warned in 2007. I don't appreciate when posts here make false claims as was stated that the fund equity has not increased since 2001. That is FALSE!!! It makes that person who claimed that and that the Bond is for busing too, which it is not, look like a FOOL! These statements are simply not TRUE. I have served on LAN and this district always insisted, under the leadership of the Board, to write to Lansing for more $$$. Well if any business or personal family spent every cent they had without proper planning they would be broke. Tamara hit the nail on the head. THE PROBLEM IS THE BOARD! They did not PLAN.
parent September 28, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Why do we need to spend over 8 million on technology? Do you know how much technology you can buy with that? That seems inflated! I am sure it is... When they wanted to build a field house it was estimated at 30 million, three times what a Lifetime Fitness would cost with a juice bar. Just like the cost of the elementary we had to have in 2005 to be built at a dump site. Well, guess what we did not need that 25 million dollar school, did we?? This is how POOR this Board plans.They are WAY OFF....

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