Source: Sherman Publications

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Superintendent Rod Rock responds

May 18, 2011

Our teachers are our number one resource. We have to have great teachers to have a great school system.

If our district pays teachers less than other districts in Oakland County, we will not attract or keep the best teachers, and our district does not pay more than other districts in our county.

I will fight for teachers, and teachers will work with us to balance the budget, as they already have, along with our other groups. It is a collaborative process.

We are fiscally responsible. Our teachers agreed to a pay freeze for next year, which will save our district $1 million. We switched to self insurance, which will save us close to $2 million with teachers contributing to their health care, along with administrators and all other groups. The full family cost will be about $14,000 compared to $19,000 before the change. Additionally, we've reduced staff and line item expenditures by $300,000.

Since the 2006-2007 school year, Clarkston has avoided or reduced expenditures by over $16 million. In the next two years, without the proposed cuts from the state, we will reduce expenditures by another $6.3 million.

The Mackinac Center is opposed to public education as we know it. Our community needs to know of the Mackinac Center's agenda and critically consider the Mackinac Center's point of view.

Our local community, I argue, should be able to make decisions about what they want for their children.

Unfunded mandates from the state do not allow us to apply our values to our educational system.

A punitive system, such as No Child Left Behind, is not the best we can do for our kids. One size reform does not fit all. Research should inform practice, not political agendas.

I'm trained as a researcher, and I feel that I have the best perspective, along with our teachers, principals, and other administrators, to make informed decisions about what is best for our kids. We will base these decisions on research and data.

I work for the Clarkston Community's Schools Board of Education. I do not work for the governor.

I serve our teachers, community, and children. I will do all I can for them. I will not back down from my commitment to them, no matter how much pressure and press comes from those who oppose my perspective.