Mayor, superintendent recognize school board

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published February 1, 2017

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ROYAL OAK — Showing personal appreciation, Mayor Michael Fournier proclaimed January as School Board Appreciation Month during the Royal Oak City Commission’s Jan. 23 meeting.

Fournier said not only is it an honor to acknowledge the board as part of his mayoral duties, but the observance is personally important to him, as his wife is a teacher and he has one child in the Royal Oak school district and two who will be students.

“As a parent, I’m very proud of the work that our 500-plus employees in the district do for our community,” he said. “Certainly school districts play a big role in the health of Royal Oak, and I hope our municipality — the way we govern — plays a big role in the health of the school district.”

Fournier added that school board members are responsible for the education of about 5,000 students and provide oversight of a $55 million budget.

“And schools in Royal Oak are doing extremely well,” he said.

The mayor said student achievement is strong and trending upward, budgets are balanced and enrollment has not only stabilized, but showed a modest increase this year.

The Royal Oak school board members are Deb Anderson, Carrier Beerer, Gary Briggs, Jeff Brinker, Marty Cardamone, Allison Sykes and Maryanne VanHaitsma.

The members attend school board and committee meetings, serve as liaisons to district buildings and PTAs, participate in workshops, stay current on issues facing public schools, and attend extracurricular events.

“The time spent in school board meetings represents just a small fraction of the many hours that the members of our school board spend serving our community as volunteers,” Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin said in a statement. “Showing appreciation for the important work of school boards should be a year-round process, but too often we neglect to recognize the dedication and hard work of those who volunteer to represent us.”

Fournier said that school board members make sure that decisions on programming, properties and facilities represent Royal Oak’s values, culture and circumstances.

To learn more about the Royal Oak Board of Education, visit royal