Sounding off on school election
June 01, 2011 - By Olivia Shumaker
Special Writer for The Review
While there may have been plenty of opinions swimming around last month's school board election results, there was one opinion heard least: the students.
Between an Advanced Placement Government class, a Creative Writing class, a Statistics class and a French Three class, very few students were aware that any election was going on. In some cases the election was even confused with the bond issue, which was voted on a few months ago. (Teachers are not allowed to try to sway students—and their parents by proxy.)
Typically, the only students aware of the election were those who knew a candidate. "Because my mom's friend was running, I constantly heard about it," said sophomore Rebecca Mix.
"I found out about the elections from working on the Vote Yes committee," said senior Rawley Van Fossen.
While students were largely unaware of the election, most were decidedly vocal about their opinions of the school board.
"The school board will never listen to us," said junior Nick McKenna.
With regard to the budget, students were equally vocal, especially in regards to teachers and how teachers are paid. Many disagreed with the standing system of paying teachers based on seniority, and said teachers should be paid based on how well they teach. Mix suggested the administration poll students about the performance of their teachers. "If every single comment is bad then clearly there is an issue," Mix said.
Overall, most were concerned specifically with the impact of the board's decisions on the quality of their own education.
"It just needs to be remembered to keep the students first and to make sure they feel the least amount of impact when it comes to cuts," said Van Fossen. "While making cuts we also have to find time and a way to invest money into the schools future to better students learning."
At one point, questions rose as to what the real purpose of the school board is when teachers are delivering most of students' education.
Students are left with no choice but to put their faith in the voters—the 14% that actually voted for the candidates. The question remains whether that 14% is a true representation of Lake Orion, and the students' best interests.
"School board elections may seem unimportant, but I believe we are facing some pretty tough issues regarding LOCS and I think the community deserves to have some input," said Van Fossen.
Students wanted an ownership stake in the quality of their education. Certainly the school board will have to make tough decisions in regards to the budget, but the question is not whether anyone will be happy, because frankly, everyone will have to give up something. The question is whether the choices will be the best for Lake Orion.
"I know that for our district to continue its excellence we need to make cuts to our budget. These cuts are going to have to come from a wide array of things. There will be some tough decisions that are going to have to be made," said Van Fossen.
Students do not know the school board. They did not vote for them and most do not even know their names. So, students, with regard to the results of the school board election, want to know that they can put their trust in a group of strangers to defend their education to the best of their ability.