When I was a kid, my friend Claudia and I sometimes sat on the steps of my back porch to talk about how much we hated our mothers.
We didn't really hate our mothers, but it seemed to us that moms were always saying "no!" when we asked to do something fun.
"No! You can't (go to the park, eat ice cream, stay up late, skip school, have a sleep-over, etc)."
As adults, we realize that sometimes, the best answer is "no."
I once said "no" to a plan developed by Supt. Steve Gaynor to allow a developer to build residential homes on the Wabeek property. (BHSD owns 18-acres on Long Lake Rd. near Wabeek.) The BHSD was to retain ownership of the LAND, however, so when people bought the new home, they would NOT own the land, and would have to pay RENT to the BHSD. "Land leases" make sense in Hawaii and Monaco (where there is very little land) but not here in Michigan. We have plenty of dirt.
I considered this a risky proposition, and not the best use of an 18-acre district asset. So, I said, "No."
"No" was the correct answer, and that proposal never made it out of committee.
I think the BHSD should exist to educate; not to engage in real estate speculation.
In 2005, when I was a Trustee of the BHSD, a motion was made to spend Sinking Fund money to build a new artificial turf sports field at Andover.
I knew that many people wanted re-build or significantly renovate the school, which was built around 1950. Andover has a very inadequate auditorium for its population of students. It's an awkward building, rather a hodge-podge of original building and additions.
I thought the SCHOOL should come first.
So, I voted "no" on the sports field, saying, "We need a plan for the SCHOOL before we build the field." The motion passed, 6-1. The field was installed. The cost was right around $1-million, which was paid from the 2004 sinking fund.
OK. I can live with that. However.....
This taxpayer and many others believe the SCHOOL should have come before the field. Perhaps we would have had the new school long ago if the Sinking Fund had been spent to better advantage. Perceived waste makes taxpayers upset. They don't want to give more when they feel their money has been mis-spent.
Grosse Pointe public schools used sinking fund money to add a new science wing to GP South high school. That's a smart way to spend sinking funds.
I think it's important to put the education of students FIRST. BHSD's generous taxpayers are well aware that top-notch education costs money. We've been the most generous taxpayers in the state for decades. We moved here because we wanted good schools, and well-educated students.
My intention is to help our Board of Education maintain a FOCUS on education outcomes and academic acheivement. This is what makes taxpayers proud, and students successful.
Sometimes, trustees need to say "no" to purchases and plans that do not benefit students, or fulfill the wishes of taxpayers.
(Please note: Both Lahser and Andover have artificial turf fields that were paid-for with 2004 sinking fund dollars.)