Voters weigh in on school board members

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 11, 2016

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MADISON HEIGHTS/HAZEL PARK — During the general election Nov. 8, voters in Madison Heights and Hazel Park elected candidates to serve on school boards.

In Madison District Public Schools, nine candidates ran for four four-year terms. Incumbent Christin Cole came out on top at 16.69 percent (1,824 votes), followed by incumbent Bill Pittman at 15.87 percent (1,735 votes), newcomer Mark Kimble at 13.18 percent (1,441 votes), and incumbent Donald Brecht Jr. at 11.39 percent (1,245 votes).

The runners-up are all newcomers: Richard Krstich at 10.74 percent (1,174 votes), Jeremy Haggard at 9.70 percent (1,060 votes), Will Weaver at 8.84 percent (966 votes), and Paul Clair and Wayne Reif each at 6.31 percent (690 votes). Write-ins accounted for 0.97 percent (106 votes).
Cole, the board’s current treasurer, said she was a bit surprised by her performance, given that she is relatively new, having been on the board for a little more than a year.

“I feel really blessed to have people vote for me,” Cole said. “I just think it’s important to stay on task with what our jobs are: to support the administration and staff, and to give them the tools they need so they can provide the best possible education and opportunities for these kids. We want them to have options, including options other than the usual college careers like teacher, doctor and so on.”

She praised Madison Superintendent Randy Speck for his work in the district.

“I think we’re doing a good job providing students with opportunities in skilled trades like manufacturing,” Cole said. “The arts are also something we want to offer. Our band program was reduced for a while, for example, but now it’s coming back. My son is in band.” 

Kimble, the only newcomer of the four elected to the board, said this is his first political office.

“I would like to focus on raising the education standards at the schools, and I believe there should be more transparency,” Kimble said. “Those are the two main things.”

In the Lamphere Schools, two candidates were running unopposed for three six-year terms. The two unopposed candidates were Anthony Austin and incumbent Paul Cavanaugh. The third seat was filled by a write-in candidate, Ryan McCann, a parent of two at Lessenger Elementary and a member of the Madison Heights Men’s Club, who received 3.68 percent of the vote (270 votes).

In Hazel Park Public Schools, four candidates ran unopposed for four four-year terms. The four unopposed candidates are incumbent Rose Mary Hammonds, Chuck Temple, Kristy Schlak and incumbent Sue Vance-Hemple.