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DeWitt Public Schools Board Member 6 -Year Term {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

DeWitt school board

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    Clifford Flood

  • Craig S. Kahler

  • Candidate picture

    John F. Tramontana

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Biographical Information

Why are you running for school board? Please mention any experience or background that makes you particularly qualified to serve.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you propose to address them? Which issue is your top priority?

If budget cuts become necessary during your term, what would you be willing to sacrifice?

If necessary to meet budget constraints, would you support closing a school building?

Are you satisfied with the academic achievement in your district? Why or why not?

Are you satisfied with the facilities in your district? Why or why not?

Are you satisfied with the performance of your superintendent? Why or why not?

Are you current in all tax, alimony and child support obligations? If not, please explain.

Hometown DeWitt
Education Albion College and Wayne State University Law School.
Family Married to Ann Flood, with three children, all of whom attended DeWitt Schools K-12
Professional Experience Former Michigan Supreme Court Commissioner, former law clerk with the Michigan Court of Appeals, and formerly a longtime practicing attorney.
Political Experience I previously served for 10 years on the DeWitt City Council, with a two-year interlude on the Clinton County Board of Commissioners, and have spent the last 13 years as a member of the DeWitt School Board, the past eight as the Board’s vice president.
I am seeking re-election because I want to continue to serve our community, where I live and have raised our family. My spouse and I have three children who attended and graduated from DeWitt Public Schools. Because of my public service experience, I understand the dynamics of serving on a public board, the role and responsibilities of the school board and its relationship to the school district’s administration, the intricacies of school finances and governmental accounting, and the vital role our school system plays in our community.
1. We must continue our emphasis on student learning. Most recently our students’ SAT scores placed our district in the top 50 school districts across the state, but there is room for continued improvement. 2. We must update our infrastructure. Our district’s facilities are well maintained but even well maintained facilities wear out over time and need replacement. Roads and parking lots need repaving, classroom furnishings, windows and doors need replacing, technology needs updating, and classrooms and facilities need upgrading. We’ve put off these needed improvements during recent lean years and now need to be proactive or the costs will be even greater down the road.
Our District faced necessary budget cuts for many years, especially following the financial downturn in 2008. If hard choices have to be considered and cuts made in the future, we'll look at all options then, seek input, and make the best choices (least damaging options) available. It would not be the first time.
As our buildings are near or at capacity, it is highly unlikely we would need to close a building.
Yes, but there is room for improvement and and I am satisfied that we are taking steps to continue to improve our student achievement. We must keep the focus on individual student performance.
As noted above, our District's facilities are well-maintained but are showing their age and need many upgrades. Now is the time to spend the money to make the necessary repairs. The longer we wait, the more costly the repairs may be.
Yes, I am satisfied with our superintendent. He brings stability to the district, improved relations with staff and works on not just academics but the whole student.
Current on all taxes; there are no alimony or child support obligations.
Hometown Richmond, MI
Education BA in Accounting from Hillsdale College
Family Married, two children, one graduated from DeWitt High School and in college, one attending DeWitt High School
Professional Experience I have worked in Public Accounting, served two school districts as a school business official, was business development director for an architectural firm and for the last thirteen years I have worked in Public Finance.
Political Experience Elected School Board member.
I strongly believe that our schools are an integral part of our community. We need good leadership to ensure our schools reflect the values and priorities of our community and to responsibly fulfill the core duties of a school board member. I bring 13 years of experience working as a school business official along with an additional 13 years as a banking professional working with school districts across Michigan. This experience brings a depth of knowledge of how schools operate and the myriad of challenges facing districts.
School finance is one of the most significant issues facing DeWitt. We are a minimally funded school district and must work hard to maintain balanced budgets in the face of rising pension and health care costs. We will continue working closely with the Administration to responsibly budget and safeguard our resources.

Our facilities are aging and need upgrades. Our parking lots and drives are in terrible condition and need to be replaced. A November bond issue, if supported by our voters, will address some of these critical needs.
It is difficult to define what would be acceptable to sacrifice in the absence of an in-depth discussion. We make budget decisions as a Board and in close consultation with the Administration. Having said that, the DeWitt Public Schools Board of Education has demonstrated the will to make difficult, unpopular decisions when they don't impact teaching and learning. We have a responsibility to maintain the fiscal health of the District and our budget decisions should hold fast to that duty.
Fortunately, DeWitt is growing and we need additional classroom space. Closing buildings is not an issue for DeWitt. Having said that, closing a building is a difficult and often contested decision. Parents and students are rightfully protective of their schools. However, many times the enrollment in a building is so low that keeping the building open is an expense that no longer be carried. Many districts in Michigan have struggled with this difficult decision. Closing is not a popular decision, but often it is the most responsible decision to keep a district financially viable.
Our graduation rates, college placement and graduation rates and the success of our graduates demonstrate our academic achievement success. However, we can do better. Our Administration recognizes our shortcomings on standardized tests and works with staff to adapt teaching strategies to address the issues. If our reading scores are down, we strive to provide additional resources to improve student performance. Our community expects our students to perform well and our dedicated staff work passionately to help all students achieve at their highest level.
Our facilities are aging and in need of updates. Our parking lots and drives are deteriorating and need to be replaced. Technology equipment and infrastructure need to be expanded and updated. A November bond issue would address these issues.
We are very fortunate to have a Superintendent the caliber of Dr. John Deiter. He is an intelligent, thoughtful leader who is focused on teaching and learning success. He has built a strong administrative team that focuses on academic achievement and he is a good communicator.
I don't believe this question is relevant to the issues facing DeWitt Public School and decline to respond.
Hometown Niagara Falls, NY
Education B.A. in Journalism with Honors, Michigan State University
Family Wife: Jessica Daughters: Isla, 4, and Gia, 2
Political Experience Appointed to the DeWitt Board of Education in February 2015.
As an employee of the Michigan Association of School Boards, I have learned what makes an effective board member, as well as my roles and responsibilities to ensure good governance in the district. Serving these past two years on the board has helped me gain a better understanding of how boards can directly impact student achievement, and how we can ensure our students are receiving a fair and quality education. I take my responsibility very seriously. Having two young girls who are about to enter the district factors into every decision I make at the board table. I have to always be thinking not only what is best for the district now, but also what is best for the future.
Funding is always the biggest issue. How do we continue to provide quality educational opportunities to all students when we are a minimum foundation district? How do we attract and retain the best staff in mid-Michigan? These are questions that always weight heavily on my mind. We have been very successful in improving student achievement while continuing to live within our means. My top priority will always be DeWitt students. Every decision I make comes down to what is best for our students, and how we can allow them to be more successful. We are very fortunate to have administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students who all understand that.
We would have to look at everything, but I would not be willing to cut anything that takes away opportunities from our students. They are the reason we do this job and decisions must always be focused on them.
DeWitt is very fortunate to have our enrollment grow each year. We're are currently looking to add a few new classrooms and expand if our bond extension passes this November.
I don't think you should ever be satisfied. If you are, you don't allow yourself room to grow. But I am very proud of what our students have accomplished. We have experienced higher test scores from our students each year and that proves we're moving in the right direction. The expectations should always be to improve and that's the mentality our district has adopted.
Like most districts, DeWitt has a problem with aging infrastructure. We always need to be looking into ways to keep our facilities modern and conducive to learning in the 21st Century. We have put a bond extension on the ballot this November to address many of those issues as well as to improve safety and security, and enhance learning for all students.
We have a fantastic superintendent and administrative team who are committed to our students and the community. I am very pleased with his performance and the new ideas he continuously brings to our district.
Yes.

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