Michigan Education Association

Election results: Schools win at the polls

Will Lansing get the message?

May 6, 2010 - Voters statewide sent a strong message at the polls this week, approving taxes to pay for education and public safety, electing union-backed candidates, and unseating scores of school board incumbents.

“It’s about quality of life,” said Jim Ward, a media specialist at Forest Hills Northern High School. “The voters are supportive of activities that they define as quality of life – and that’s public service and public education. This broke the whole ‘cut, cut, cut, don’t talk about taxes’ approach. We need to support essential services.”

Hopefully, legislators will get the message: Enough is enough!

Voters support their schools – and other vital public services – and recognize that unstable funding hurts students and communities.

From St. Joseph to Adrian to Bessemer, voters were in a pro-education mood Tuesday.

In Durand, a school custodian whose job was outsourced to a private company in December, won a contested school board election. Paul Mayers, a former union president who now works for the private company, is one of two union-supported candidates who won in Durand.

“I hope it’s a wake-up call,” Mayers said. “This is a victory for the working class.”

Other election victories included:

  • In Warren, voters unseated incumbents in favor or Sue Jozwik, a job recruiter with MEA support, and Elaine Martin, a retired school secretary.
  • The Petoskey News-Review trumpeted election results – the headline was “Big night for millages in Emmet, Charlevoix” – as voters passed several millage proposals in the area.
  • Holland voters OK’d $73 million in school bonds to pay for better buildings, computers, and athletic facilities.
  • In St. Johns, voters passed a $64.3 million proposal to fund high school improvements, new buses, and technology upgrades. Funding requests were also approved in Stockbridge, Portland, Bath, and Ionia County.
  • In Ironwood, two of the three school board races went to candidates recommended by the MEA affiliates there.
  • St. Joseph voters approved a $38 million bond issue for renovations, additions, and equipment upgrades including replacing aging computers.

Despite these positive results, much work remains to secure adequate funding for public education and other necessary services.

MEA is part of a coalition – A Better Michigan Future – that advocates a four-point priority plan to help Michigan. If you’d like to learn more about the coalition and its work, go to www.abettermichiganfuture.org.

You are also encouraged to take five minutes to contact your legislators and Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Tell them to support efforts to provide adequate, stable and equitable funding for education!

And, finally, to learn more about MEA’s “Enough is enough” campaign, a strategic action plan, go to www.mea.org/enough.


April 27, 2010