9 candidates file for 4 available seats on SCCS school board



SWARTZ CREEK — With the recent, and controversial, realignment of the Swartz Creek Community Schools elementary buildings, it is perhaps not surprising that nine candidates have filed for four available seats on the Board of Education.

Voters will make their selections in the November general election. All seats are four-year terms that begin Jan. 1.

The field of candidates includes incumbents Carrie Germain, who currently serves as board president, and Michael Ahearne, the current board treasurer. Jessica Lanave, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in 2018 and currently serves as secretary, also is seeking to retain her seat.

Incumbent Tony Paul has not filed for reelection, which means there will be at least one new board member beginning in 2021.

Other candidates include Justus Brown, Michael Ovsenik, John M. Sayer, Leah Davis, Jason Bennett, and Carla Marie Cordinier-Smith.

In the coming year, the school board will face some big decisions regarding finances as it stares down a statewide budget cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on revenues.

“It’s not something that’s unique to Swartz Creek; it’s something that’s going to be a part of every district’s decision-making over the next year plus,” said school Superintendent Ben Mainka. “That and dealing with COVID-19.”

The pandemic remains a big concern as school officials attempt to deliver educational resources in the safest and most effective manner.

Friday, July 24, the district sent parents another survey asking for input on preferred educational models: face-to-face instruction, online distance learning or a combination of the two.

Results of the survey must be received by Friday, July 31, to be included in the data review.

The elementary school realignment plan has met with mixed reviews from parents and the general public. The plan involves housing kindergarten through second-grade students at Morrish and Syring elementary schools and turning Dieck and Elms Road schools into third- through fifth-grade buildings. Gaines Elementary will remain a K-5 school.