While many politicians have been talking about education in efforts to get elected, there are a couple issues that will affect Fenton Area Public Schools directly on the November ballot.
Three candidates are vying for a four-year term on the Fenton Board of Education and school officials are trying to pass an $8.4 million bond proposal.
Newcomers Dior Rushton and Drew Shapiro are challenging incumbent Sandra Mathews-Barnes for a spot on the Fenton school board.
Mathews-Barnes, who served as a librarian in the Flushing School District for many years, earned her spot on the board in 2008. She said she is proud of what the school has accomplished.
“I want to see us continue because our kids deserve it,” she said.
Rushton said she has lived in the Fenton School District for 18 years and has two children in Fenton schools.
“The school board is a great way to become engaged with the community,” she said. “I would welcome more parental involvement with the school board.”
Shapiro, a 2006 graduate of Fenton High School, said the school taught him to be a leader and he believes he is ready to lead. He wants to implement a mentor lunch program that connects students and local business owners.
“I’ve been inspired by the struggles of my peers. Many of them have been unable to start their futures and struggled to find viable career paths,” he said.
Fenton school officials also will try to pass an $8.4 million bond after a $9.6 million bond failed in May. The bond failed by less than 200 votes.
The new proposal is focused on technology, school buses and increasing safety and security. It dropped all traffic and parking projects from the prior proposal and shortened the bond by two years, making the proposal more than $1 million less this time around. The bond will cost owners of a $120,000 home an average of $60 a year.
"We tried to get feedback from the community and the No. 1 reason people didn't support it was the parking and traffic issues," said Fenton superintendent Dr. Timothy Jalkanen. "As far as technology, safety and the busses people seemed to recognize the need. "Our focus has stayed the same, but the board has listened to the community."
The $6.4 million technology part of the bond include:
- A wireless access in all buildings
- Computer labs in all buildings
- Classroom computer labs for business, publications, TV/video and computer aided design and drafting classes
- Electronic whiteboards
- Computer servers
- Digital presentation tools
The $300,000 safety and security part of the bond will include:
- Replacing the security system at Fenton High School
- Installing additional security in all schools and add cameras and radios to busses.
- Replacing the phone system
The $1.4 million transportation part of the bond will include the ability to purchase 16 new buses over 10 years.
"We are trying to get the word out," Jalkanen said. "We expect a much better turnout with the presidential election this time."
You can view a video explaining the bond proposal in more detail on the Fenton School's website.