Election Season is upon us and this is an important election year for Maple Valley Schools. We have a seven-member board and this year five seats are up for election. We have nine candidates for the five positions, so there are many candidates for our local voters to get to know. The five incumbent members are running for their seats: Kristen Miller, Craig Lackscheide, Kimberlee Kenyon, Kelly Dunham, and Kimberly Wilkes for the 2-year open seat. Additional candidates who are new to the field are: Scott Leslie, Tyler Erb, Dustin Henney and Rick McCloy.

Primary functions of a local Non-partisan School Board include: educate students, provide for their safety and welfare, acquire, maintain and dispose of property, determine matters relating to school employees and contractors and to make joint agreements and cooperative arrangements. Specific duties assigned in the Revised School Code include responsibilities to: set Curricula and courses taught, employ the superintendent, adopt a budget, decide whether or not to furnish transportation for students and negotiate with Unions regarding salary and work conditions.  The board works as a corporate body. Individual board members cannot act alone. There is a great deal of information that one needs to know to be prepared to govern. To assist our candidates, we will be hosting an Orientation Session on those topics as well as governance guidelines on October 26th at 6 pm in the Boardroom of our Central Office. The public is welcome to attend that session. At our last board retreat, expectations were set in place that future board members would attend New Board Member Series MASB Training. This training will help them acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for this position and accelerate our ability to work efficiently together in the interests of the district. The State of Michigan acknowledges the importance of this work and will reimburse the district for the cost of this training.

There are two events planned to help our community know our candidates. This week the Maple Valley Education Association is interviewing candidates to determine their endorsements. They will be sharing the questions and responses as well as their endorsements based upon the interviews through Social Media and potentially some newspaper advertisements. Additionally, there will be a Meet the Candidates Night held in the Maple Valley High School Cafeteria on November third from 6-8:30 pm. Candidates will have an opportunity to issue a brief statement, then respond to questions from our Moderator Jeff Weiler. Audience members will have a chance to write questions that will be asked as time allows by Mr. Weiler. Cake and punch will be served following the panel and community members can speak directly to the candidates.

Election Day is November 8th this year and your votes will be critical to create a board which reflects the values, interests and many perspectives in Maple Valley. Please put all of these dates on your calendar and engage your civic pride in establishing what I believe is our most important branch of local government. Our kids are our future.

Dr. B