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Challengers run for school board

Theresa Adriaens

October 31, 2012 - Seven candidates are running for four open seats on Clarkston Board of Education, Nov. 6.

Theresa Adriaens has lived in Springfield Township for more than 13 years. She and her husband of 16 years, Steve, have three children, all attending Clarkston Community Schools - Megan, 7th grade, Sashabaw Middle School, Jason, 5th grade, and Kevin, 2nd grade, both at Springfield Plains Elementary.

She has a BBA in Computer Information Systems from Walsh College and aMBA in Operations Management, Lawrence Technological University

During the past seven years, she has has volunteered in her children's classrooms.

"This has enabled me to understand firsthand the needs of the children and teachers in Clarkston," she said.

In 2009, she utilized my IT skills to help teachers by publishing a book, Master the MEAP, 4th grade, and the book is used today by several SPE teachers.

"The current board members are divided on key issues involving the lives of the Clarkston School District staff and students," she said. "It is time that newly elected board members bring some harmony to the board so that issues can be addressed and progress can be made for making the district better for all involved. I am committed to Building A Better Tomorrow for ALL of Clarkston Community Schools."

Her occupation as a Senior Information Technology (IT) Project Manager, will be invaluable, she said.

"I have 25 years of experience in planning, developing, and implementing state-of-the-art IT solutions that helped facilitate process improvements that lead to corporate growth," she said. "I have managed project budgets ranging from $50K to $10B. As a Project Manager it is imperative to implement only those projects that will provide value to the organization and provide at least a 10% Return on Investment. These same principles apply to the Clarkston Community School District."

As a new board member, it is imperative that the seven members gain consensus and prioritize the top goals of the district while fulfilling the district's mission, she said.

Regarding the board communication policy and funneling information through the board president, "A single contact person for board communications is important so that it can be distributed to the entire board for each person's review," she said.

Viewpoints on the following:

Budget cuts: There are two main areas that have significantly decreased the school funds budget. First, 17.3% of school aid is from Michigan's Income Tax. Michigan's August 2012 unemployment rate is 9.4% and the federal national unemployment rate is 8.1%1. This has a direct impact on funding available for schools as less people are working and contributing to this school district funding source.

Second, 14.2% of school aid is obtained from the 6-mill property tax. During the last four years each Michigan homeowner has seen their property value significantly decrease in value and thus this has also had a direct impact on school funding. This is the reality for all Michigan public schools and the newly elected board must be creative to fund more programs with less money.

The 2012 $20 million bond: The Clarkston School District needs to implement more technology in the classroom so that the students can be competitive in the job market upon graduating from college and also allow the CCS district to be as competitive with other neighboring school districts.

District transparency: I have learned a great deal by reviewing the financial information for our district that has been published by the current CCS administration. This allows current Clarkston residents to review the up-to-date information on many topics within the district.

State wide School of Choice: I am strongly opposed to allowing a state wide school of choice. My family intentionally moved from another Oakland County city in 1998 so our children could attend Clarkston Community Schools.

Charter Schools: I am strongly opposed to lifting the restrictions on the number of charter schools within the state.

Any additional thoughts? I am committed to Building A Better Tomorrow for ALL of Clarkston Community Schools.

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