Trustees look to renew Board of Education spots in upcoming election

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By Julia Nagy

Grand Ledge Gazette Staff writer

The fate of two Board of Education trustees’ partial terms are in the hands of Grand Ledge residents on Nov. 6.

Grand Ledge High School, 820 Spring Street, has a composite grade of “A” on the Michigan Department of Education School Report Card. Julia Nagy/The Grand Ledge Gazette

Trustees Beverly Winstanley and Jonathan Shiflett, who were appointed to fill vacancies on the board, are running to finish out their partial terms. Now it’s up to the residents of Grand Ledge as to whether or not they’ll remain on the board.

“You can’t stay in without the vote of the people,” Shiflett said. “So, I’m being confirmed by the people.”

Shiflett, who serves as a legislative director in the Michigan Senate, was appointed to his first term on the Board of Education in May 2012 and said he’s enjoyed being able to have an impact on the community.

“It’s been really nice to keep a watchful eye on the school and have an impact on the policies,” Shiflett said. “It’s nice to see how education policy affects in reality.”

Trustee Beverly Winstanley, who was appointed to the board in January 2012, is a retired Lieutent Commander serving 22 years in the U.S. Navy. Winstanley has been working as a substitute teacher in Grand Ledge Public Schools for the past seven years.

Winstanley and Shiflett are not running against one another. They are running to finish out their partial terms.

Former Grand Ledge High School student Emily Morgan said she is sad she won’t be able to vote in the upcoming election for local spots. Morgan is currently attending film school in North Carolina.

“I think it’s important to vote in local elections, especially when it comes to education,” Morgan said. “People have not idea how important their vote is, especially at such a micro-level of government. These are the people making direct decisions.”

Media and information sophomore Bradley Butts said he agrees with the fact that local elections are important to vote in, but he most likely will not.

“I just don’t feel educated enough on local candidates and I think it’d be irresponsible to vote just for the sake of voting,” Butts said.

Shiflett said he has a unique set of skills and a vested interest in making Grand Ledge schools the best they can be.

Shiflett, a Grand Ledge alumni, moved back into the area to raise a family and said he joined the board because he felt like it would be a nice thing to do for the community.

Shiflett said he feels the biggest problem the district faces is funding. The district only receives about $6,800 per students. The board has been communicating with the legislature to change that.

Delta Center Elementary principal David Averill agrees that funding is the largest issue the district faces and said he hopes the board continues to fight for their schools.

“I think the biggest thing for them is to continue to have our district function at a high level with a lack of resources,” Averill said.

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