Celebrating school boards

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published January 27, 2016

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CENTER LINE/WARREN/STERLING HEIGHTS — “January is School Board Recognition Month. Thank a school board member today” was written on the Warren Consolidated Schools Facebook page Jan. 12 to recognize what local school boards do every day.

Every January, students and staff in the Center Line, Van Dyke, Warren Woods, Warren Consolidated and Fitzgerald school districts find ways to show their appreciation to their respective school boards with gifts, personal notes, artwork and kind words.

In Fitzgerald Public Schools, for example, those at Fitzgerald High School and Chatterton Middle School provided a buffet dinner in recognition of the school board Jan. 16 prior to the regular Board of Education meeting.

According to Center Line Public Schools Superintendent Eve Kaltz, all the school buildings will celebrate each individual school board member this month. In addition, every year Center Line students make artwork to decorate the board room inside the Terry D. Follbaum Administration Building.

Each school district in Michigan is governed by a board of education. Under state law, school board members are state officers who carry out the state’s educational obligations at the local level. Every school board member must take an oath of office promising to uphold all laws. The primary function of the board of education is to oversee the education of people in the community.

“The responsibilities of the board of education are to ensure administration provides our students (with) the best learning opportunities, (to) keep them safe and to be fiscally responsible to our community,” Warren Consolidated school board President Susan Trombley stated in an email.

This month marks the beginning of Trombley’s fourth and final year of her current term. As a school board member, Trombley has enjoyed witnessing the accomplishments of the students. 

“I am a believer that it takes a village to raise a child,” she said.

As districts struggle to deal with budget reductions because of Michigan’s economic downturn, school board members have faced difficult and unpopular decisions in recent years.

“It has been a great challenge for us to manage doing more with less,” Trombley said. “Technology and its advances makes it difficult to keep up with changes that happen daily with less and less money.  The administration of this district, along with its staff members, has made great sacrifices for the students in this community.”

The Van Dyke Public Schools Facebook page also had a message Jan. 12 to remind others that January is School Board Recognition Month.

“Serving on a school board has been described as the ‘toughest volunteer job in America.’ Yet Michigan’s public school board members dedicate countless personal hours to attending meetings, school functions, and hours of preparation for the decisions they make,” the message states.

“On top of that, many pursue their own professional development to stay on top of the ever-changing education landscape. They’re dedicated individuals who are committed to the continuing success of our schools and students. They preserve the core of our democracy — public education. All of us in the Van Dyke Public Schools community want to extend our thanks to our dedicated and caring board members this and every month.”

Warren Woods Public Schools Superintendent Stacey Denewith-Fici also weighed in on the subject.

“In Warren Woods, we are extremely blessed to have a dedicated and insightful board to support and guide our vision for student achievement. Through their policymaking decisions and their fiscal responsibility, they guide the district through myriad important decisions, while always keeping at the forefront of their decisions what is best for our students,” she said in an email. “In addition to the numerous meetings and workshops they attend, they spend countless hours in and around our schools and community attending events, researching best practices, and studying proposals and policies. In these difficult times in Michigan, they continually advocate for the children of our state.”

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