Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dickinson Center

The board recieved an email on Dickinson Center that puts some of this in perspective.


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.

Good Luck.

Steve King

Follow up.

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 "

Post Election Comments

I've recieved a number of emails since the election, and wanted to share a couple of them.


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.

Thank you!



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


I was not surprised by the outcome of the May 4th election but I was disappointed the vote tally was as low as it was. Keeping the election in May was the predominant strategy to defeat me. My detractors knew they could rally their base, those with a very narrow self interest in keeping everything exactly the same, and it would be difficult for me to get a big turnout in an off year election without spending a lot of money. Still, I worked very hard and received so much positive feedback from citizens that I thought it might have been a little closer. I would like to thank all of the folks that made phone calls, sent e-mails and literally dragged others to vote. If the district wanted voters aware of this election we would have televised the board meeting just prior to the election. We would have placed a vote today sign on the front lawn of central office and our cable channel would have been flashing a reminder with poll information locations and times. The fact that only a few polling places had signs reminding people to vote as they picked up their kids from school was a factor as well. In spite of the orchestrated effort to supress the vote it is the responsibility of all citizens to stay informed and participate in the process.

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.

If you heard me speak, you know my comments were respectful albeit in direct contrast with what the board was being told. Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion. Judging by the response I received from many of those in attendance, many agreed with me and were appreciative of my effort. I am curious as to why you did not speak to me that evening as so many others did. I am still puzzled as to why the board or administration did not seek out different opinions from others in our district before making such a big decision. I believe an effective board member exhibits intellectual curiosity, an ability to consider other points of view and a willingness to communicate face to face before casting any vote.  I would like to meet with you or anyone else and discuss any questions you or they may have. 
Steve King

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rumor Mill

I was contacted by a teacher in the district asking me about something they were told I said about a particular teacher. I appreciate the inquiry because I not only did not know the person they were referring to, but never said anything about anybody. This has been an ongoing problem for me as a board member. No matter what the issue, privatization, layoffs, or cuts in programs I am the bogey man. Perception overwhelms the truth. Never mind how I vote or what I say, it is easier to listen to the rumors. All I have ever asked is that people speak to me directly when they have a question.

Coffee & Conversation

My first public forum at the senior center took place on a snow day and all of the programs at the center were cancelled as well as school. I had four citizens in attendance and we had good discussions. I look forward to the next meeting March 22nd 10am -11am

Sunday, February 21, 2010

One Year Later

I can not believe it has been one year since my last post. Funny how life's challenges can prevent you from doing so many things you approach with the best intentions. You should see my basement. When I started this blog I really hoped to post often and keep a different line of communication open with anyone willing to read it. I would have liked to do better. I am going to give it another go, so if anyone is still reading my blog, pass it on. We should be having some interesting conversations with the upcoming budget recommendations begining in March. First up is a consultant that will be giving the board a tutorial on outsourcing of services. He is being brought to the table at the behest of the superintendent and nothing at the board level has been discussed at this time. I do believe there are at least three board members that may support the administration if they choose to go in that direction. I am not one of them and it would take at least four board votes to enact any changes and the administration does not have them.

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.