Five vie for C-A school board opening

FLINT TWP. — Five candidates interviewed this week for an opening on the Carman-Ainsworth school board created last month by the resignation of Recco Richardson.

They are Lorraine Vaughn, Karen Ford, James Johnson, Laura Garrison and Tracy Edwards. All are parents of students attending C-A schools who said they are already active and involved in school programs.

Vaughn said she is a single mother of three and a University of Michigan graduate in social science. Her interest includes strengthening families and forming community alliances between parents, businesses and schools.

Ford said she has resided in the district for about 13 years and has three children. She holds a master’s in social work and currently works at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw. She’s interested in strengthening the district’s social media policy particularly related to cyberbullying. She asked about the district’s plans to help students and parents adapt to new Common Core curriculum standards being implemented soon.

Johnson said he returned to Flint after living in New England and purposely chose to move to the C-A district for the benefit of his two children’s education. He is a familiar face to the board because he regularly attends their twice-monthly meetings. He also said he had considered running for a board seat in the previous election. He spoke of now-closed schools he attended in Flint and said he is interested in keeping C-A schools open and viable for future generations.

Garrison was another familiar face having recently served on the CARES committee made up of parents and volunteers who supported passage of C-A’s millage and sinking fund renewal.

She’s a teacher in Flint and is interested in helping C-A do a better job of promoting it programs which have benefitted her three children.

Edwards, who has a son at Randels Elementary, holds a Ph.D. and works at Saginaw Valley State University. She touted educational opportunities at C-A such as Young Inventors and robotics programs and said she is interested in promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs, especially getting more young women involved.

In separate 30-minute interviews each candidate was asked about their background, their interest in serving on the school board, their perception of the board’s strengths and weaknesses, their knowledge of the current financial crisis facing most school districts in Michigan’s, their personal educational passions and their ideas for school improvement.

Maintaining current programming, more parental involvement, managing shrinking funds, stabilizing enrollment and the need for better promotion of what C-A has to offer were consistent themes mentioned by the candidates. Several also praised C-As diverse student and teacher body.

Board president Patrice Hatcher said the board will announce its decision at a special meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. July 23. The new board member will be sworn in at that time, if present. If not, the oath of office will be administered at the Aug. 6 regular school board meeting.

The selected candidate will serve until the November 2014 election when he or she must run for the position.

Hatcher also made each candidate aware of a possible second board vacancy opening up soon for which those who are not chosen can reapply.

Board members are paid a small per diem of about $30 for attending regular meetings.

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