Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Use your smarts when voting for school board

FIRST EDITIONSunday, April 15, 2007
By Kelly Flynn


See also at

If caring about kids were the only criteria, then pretty much anyone could serve on a school board. After all, there aren't many people who don't care about kids. It's wired into our DNA to look out for the well-being of the little ones.

So when you vote for a school board member on May 8 (and you will vote, won't you?), don't make your decision based on who makes the most ardent speech about caring for kids. Take that as a given and look at what they know, and what they can do.

Because they need to bring some skills to the table. I'm fed up with school board members - and yes, administrators, too - who hide their lack of skill behind a lot of big talk about their dedication to kids. Big talk doesn't balance the budget. Big talk doesn't solve personnel issues. Big talk doesn't make sound decisions about building improvement. Big talk is just a cover for a lack of ability.

Caring about kids does not equal a well-rounded curriculum, fair and effective discipline, or good communication with parents.

So, what skills should school board members have? Well, for starters, they need to be smart. Intelligence cannot be underestimated in the quest for an effective school board member. Smart people can think on their feet and see the big picture. Good old-fashioned common sense is vital, too. You also want a creative thinker with strong problem-solving skills. Most importantly, though, a school board member must be able to work well with others. A candidate who uses the post as a bully-pulpit is a waste of your money.

Granted, school board members don't need to be experts on everything. That's what administrators and principals are for. With talented people in place a board can rely on their expertise. But they have to be knowledgeable enough to hire the right people, and put them in the right positions.

Leadership. It's the difference between a district that runs like a well-oiled machine, and one that blunders along putting out fires. And I'll bet you can name exactly which districts are which.

After 20 years in public education I know this: The minute someone tells you that they "want what's best for kids," you need to listen very carefully to the next thing out of their mouths. Because those five words are almost always used to deflect attention away from something else.

Be wary of the person who repeatedly reassures you of their motives. People who really care about kids rarely say so. They don't need to blather endlessly about their commitment to children. They're too busy living it.

Don't be snowed by a nice personality, or passionate, evangelical testimonials about caring for kids.

It's just not enough.

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Dr. Mike Cross candidate 4/17/06

The following is the part of the 4/17/07 Flint Journal Article on the two year candidates.

The link is cited you can read the entire article. Here I am providing only the information on Dr. Cross who has been endorsed by the Great Schools Initiative (GSI).

THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION Tuesday, April 17, 2007 http://www.mlive.com/news/flintjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1176832203117810.xml&coll=5

FLINT - Two of the five candidates running for a two-year Flint Board of Education seat would ax the current school reform plan, while a third contender is open to a new vision from a new superintendent.

And two of the people running in the May 8 election said they hope they can help improve the district and send their children to Flint schools. Their children now attend private or charter schools. ...

And newcomer Dr. Michael D. Cross, a veterinarian, said more data and time are needed to determine if Milton's plan is working. Milton's reform program significantly changed the district by creating new curricula, integrating middle schools into high schools, eliminating the popular Challenge Program and magnet schools, and opening a classical academy and gender-based schools. The plan is in its first year....

Cross... said they want to help restore pride in Flint schools and get their children in the school system. "I am a huge proponent of the Flint Community Schools and public schools in general, and yet I don't currently feel comfortable sending my child," Cross, 39, said in an e-mail to The Flint Journal.

"This is the reason I'm running. I won't be satisfied until I am proud to send my children." Cross's daughter, 6, goes to a private school; he also has a 3-year-old. His wife, Kimberly, is principal of Carpenter Road Elementary School.

He said his wife's job would not interfere with his service if he's elected. "My responsibility is to voters, the citizens of Flint who have elected me," said Cross, who posts a daily log at www.flinttalk.com and has a campaign Web site, www.drcrossflintschools.com.

"Anybody who thinks it will be a conflict of interest, I can assure them they will be proven wrong." ...

Dr. Michael D. Cross Age: 39 Work: Owner of Cross Veterinary Clinic in Grand Blanc Township and director of veterinary technology program at Baker College of Flint Education: Southwestern High School graduate; bachelor's degree in biology and doctor of veterinary medicine from Michigan State University; master's degree in business administration from Baker College Community involvement: Science review committee for Flint Area Science Fair; chairman of shelter operations for the Humane Society of Genesee County. Family: Married. Two children: 6-year-old at Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Burton, plan to send 3-year-old to Flint schools.


Posted Here 4/17/07
by Terry Bankert attorneybankert@yahoo.com

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Jennifer Dillard Candidate 4/16/07

From the Flint Journal 4/16/07.

The article contained information on all candidate. Go to the site for the complete story.


Here I will edit down to the GSI endorsed candidated Jennifer Dillard. Nothing was added... Posted here by Terry Bankert ---

FLINT - All three newcomers vying for a one-year seat on the Flint Board of Education expressed varying degrees of support for the reform plan backed by the current board. Parent Jennifer Dillard said she strongly supports the plan...

Superintendent Walter Milton Jr.'s sweeping reform plan included school closings, curriculum changes, grade reconfigurations at the secondary level and creation of an academy for high-achieving students and another with same-sex classrooms. ...

Dillard, 34, disagreed. She said enrollment wouldn't be down so much if the district worked harder to solve truancy problems. "I think we need to focus our efforts on the kids instead of closing those buildings," she said. "Let's bring these kids back into the schools. Let's get them back off the street." She said she would cut spending on staff training by sending fewer teachers to conferences. ...

*** Jennifer Dillard Age: 34 1. Work: Children's protective services/drug court supervisor for Department of Human Services in Genesee County. Education: Flint Northern High School graduate; bachelor's degree in social work; master's degree in public administration from University of Michigan-Flint. Community involvement: Title I parent group at Neithercut Elementary School; member of Family Worship Center Church in Flint; volunteer at Bryant Elementary School. Family: Married. Three children, two of school age: a Neithercut Elementary fourth-grader and a Southwestern Academy ninth-grader.


Posted here by Terry Bankert


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