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Two run for school board



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Schrei (click for larger version)
October 06, 2010 - John R. Schrei and Elizabeth Egan want the best for Clarkston students – that's why they're running for school board.

Incumbent Egan, running for the four-year seat after being appointed this past April, said she still has a passion for education.

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Egan (click for larger version)
"I have a real sense of commitment, having hired Dr. Rod Rock (for superintendent) to continue on the board and help him succeed," she said.

She also wants to keep working on the budget with the Finance Committee.

Schrei also sees the budget as important and getting to a balanced and functioning budget.

"I am running because philosophically if you want to be an instrument for change, you have to get involved," he said. "You can't sit back and sit on the sidelines. You have to get in there and do what you can."

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He is also invested in the district with a son and a daughter attending Sashabaw Middle School.

"I want them to have every opportunity," Schrei added. "I want what they learn today, how they react to given situations, to prepare them to think beyond themselves. The world is changing. I want them prepared so they can handle the challenge and do great things when they are my age."

Previously, Egan was PTA Council president.

"Working in our PTA units, I firmly believed our parents and teachers needed to work together for our students' success," she said. "Since being on the board, I think learning that it's more than that to help the student's succeed – it's really everybody."

Even with budget cuts, fluctuating state funding, lower property taxes, and the down economy, the community can help students by talking to their legislators, she said.

"The lack of predicatability is unnerving for all seven of us on the board," she said. "The number can change with the wind. We are getting some relief dollars but it is just a bandaid. It is a one year fix. And understanding where can use without taking away the following year. Making the dollars stretch as much as we can."

Her business background and understanding finances has helped looking at the finances and came in handy when it came to tough decisions.

"With the kids we are able to move forward and make some decisions and work on a balanced budget," she said. "We were able to agree short term, small borrowing will get us through tough times."

Another note is educating the public on how the money is spent, what was cut and what wasn't and why, which she said will be on the district's website within a few weeks.

She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in packaging. She worked for DOW Chemical for 18 years, first starting out in marketing and product design.

She has two daughters, one is a senior at Clarkston High School and another is a freshman in college.

Schrei is a Publishing Director at BNP Media, which allows him to set his own work and traveling schedule.

It also has given him experience to work within a budget.

"I know education system is not like a business but in a way it is to me," he said. "I don't mean it to be offensive to some people or in the commercial sense, but we have to have a healthy operating budget. We have to have a balanced budget. Without it we are always going to be struggling with cuts in managing day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month rather than saying what can we accomplish, what kind of new curriculum can we get for the kids, what can we do to move forward instead of looking behind us. Or wondering what do we have to cut next time."

He also wants to rebuild trust between the board, district staff and community.

"The board's open responsibility is to set an example in public," he added.

"By that I mean respectful of others, civility, inclusion and I would be working towards that. Some of the strengths I have in business and through my life I would be an asset there."

He sees Dr. Rock as a great opportunity to work on the district's vision.

"We are living in a global reality now. I am always worried if my kids will have a great perspective," Schrei said. "We need great thinkers we need great leaders so I think it starts with the vision we have for our kids."

Meet the candidates when the Clarkston PTA Council holds a candidate forum. They host the school board candidates on October 20 at Clarkston High School, 6093 Flemings Lake Road, beginning at 7 p.m. The election is Nov. 2.

For more information, visit www.ClarkstonPTA.org.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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