Sunday, May 23, 2010
The initial email
Livonia School Board,
We recently sent you an email and petition regarding your decision to close the Dickinson Center. We are hoping that the petition and the many other efforts to save Dickinson will cause you to reconsider your decision to close it. The Dickinson Center, in our opinion, could shoulder a much greater load of classes and programs than are currently offered there, and along with them, the potential to generate income for the city.
Thank you for your consideration,
The Save the Dickinson Center Committee
My Response (It turns out I was the only board member to respond)
Just a clarification in regards to your letter. Dickinson is school property and it is out of the jurisdiction of the city. The school district owns and maintains, profits or loses funds in relation to all school property. Although there is a profound effect on the city relevant to the disposition of schools and school property, just ask the folks that live in the Hull neighborhood, one of our closed buildings and a magnet for nefarious activities. They pleaded with the Mayor to do something, but it is clearly out of his jurisdiction and he has no authority when it comes to the school district.
The board president had all of your signatures at the board table Monday night, but at this time did not feel the need to share them with the board members. At the last meeting the superintendent said Dickinson will be closing because it will save 250 thousand dollars to mothball that building. I do not believe this is in the best interest of the community and am strongly opposed to closing the center. I have offered other streams of funding, and made many suggestions that would fill the school with programs but have yet to get support from any other board members, so it looks like your going to get the short end on this one.
Its to bad people do not pay close attention to what is happening in the district until it touches them personally. The public has such a short memory that it allows the same incompetent board members to continue making decisions that are bringing Livonia down. It matters who sits on the board as many are finding out the hard way. Feel free to call me if you wish to discuss this matter any further.
I cannot thank you enough for giving me your respect--by informing me with your truthful information, concern, and support. You are a gem. There needs to be replicas of you occupying the seats of Livonia city council. If you every decide to run for city leadership, let me know. We will support you however we can. By your quick responds to me, I'm able to make the urgent arrangements that will protect my business and loyal customers.
"Save the Dickinson Center Committee "
Dear Mr. King,
I am a parent in the Livonia Public School District. We have had the opportunity to meet on several occasions at various school functions, and most recently at Frost, my polling place. I am truly disappointed by the outcome of the last election. I think Livonia Public Schools is losing a truly gifted administrator.
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your service. The bravery you demonstrated in the face of the 'status quo' is admirable and serves as a lesson to the children of this district. It is ironic that the schools were the main reason my family moved to this area, and it will most likly be the very reason we leave. Unless we can find a way to unseat the current board members, there might not be much of a district left.
I hope that you will remain active, your service and dedication is truly appreciated.
Remember me from the old days? I sure hope so. Some of my friends still remember you when we ran for school board seats, and they all have good memories of you. I see you still dress in the sharp suits!
I still sometimes poke around in Livonia politics to see what is going on these days. I noticed the recent election results, and I have to say, I am dissapointed. The same machine controls LPS, and it's ridiculous that they still have a special election in May. It's clear as day they still have the election on a specially set aside on a "special" day so they can control the election instead of putting it when the general city election is held. Let's not even get into the money that can be saved by consolidating the elections, but we both know we just "can't" do that...can you say special interest election? I can't get over the chokehold a few groups have over the LPS elections. I can't get over how they always manage to field someone randomly that noone knows until election time...only to have that person win by a landslide against the person they don't want to win. I think you probably still could have beat them (like you did last time), had you had a more motivated voter base like you had when the district was considering/just coming off of ridiculous decisions and policies.
I can still see the snide look on many of the people (some of whom I ran against...) on the board as they continue to choke the life out of any challengers to their rubber stamp regime. It's sad, Steve, because my family and I were just talking the other day, and the term "rubber stamp" is still applicable today. LPS is getting worse as a district, and the same failing policies continue to be pursued. My parents moved out with my little sister years ago to Livingston County and have not looked back. Some of the comments you have made during board meetings essentially explain why they left.
Props to you for holding it up for the years you were on the board. Ive listened to some of your comments during meetings, and you know what you are doing. I'm sure you will have other endeavors that will continue to bring you success, such as your band.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
In response to a letter to the editor, I would like to clarify why I spoke during audience communication at a Farmington School Board meeting concerning the recent school closing plans.
I was contacted by a group of school parents that wanted to meet with me to discuss the inevitable changes that were about to take place in their school community. The concern they had centered on one proposal in particular—Option D, which they recognized as being a carbon copy of the “Legacy Initiative” that the Livonia Board of Education imposed on our district several years ago. The moms and dads I spoke with are PTA members and ardent supporters of their district. One of them was also a member of the committee charged with evaluating the different proposals that were being considered. Unfortunately, the committee was not given a chance to weigh in on Option D, the plan that the Farmington BOE passed unanimously, because it was presented after the committee had done its work, recommending the Orchard Lake Option.
The group reached out to me, a Livonia school board trustee, because their board was citing our district as a shining example of what their plan would offer and how its implementation was a howling success. They, however, remembered what actually happened in Livonia and felt the information their central office was regurgitating was blatantly one-sided and misleading. They were keenly aware that even today there are parents, teachers, administrators and several board members who feel the changes have not delivered as promised, and would like to make adjustments. In light of this, they felt they were not being heard, and thought perhaps someone with firsthand knowledge from Livonia might be able to break through the fog of indifference and be heard.
I was a bit hesitant at first when they asked me to speak before the board, being fully aware my speaking could be misconstrued by the unapprised, and used against me by others who do not appreciate my questioning of the status quo. Remembering the angst the changes caused in Livonia, I felt for the Farmington community. And as a Farmington soccer coach, I knew the plan would also impact my players and their families as well. Knowing that Option D was going to be implemented regardless of the communication from the community or whatever the board professed, I still chose to speak out and attempt to give voice to those who asked me to.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
One other thing I would like to share is the fourth Monday of every month I will be at the senior center on five mile from 10am - 11am beginning February 22nd, as an elected official, to speak with anyone interested in asking questions or making comments on school district issues. State Senator Glen Anderson is there from 9-10 and I know some folks do show up to speak with him so it would be nice if at least one person will come and speak to me. This will be a good opportunity to learn information about LPS without the ever present filter. It will also give me a chance to address some of the rumors about me that I hear as I traverse the district. It is amazing how misinformation spreads and is very difficult to combat. Please contact me directly if you have any questions and ignore those that are bent on discrediting me.