GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Two sitting Grand Rapids Public Schools board members will facethree challengers in their fight to keep their seats Tuesday. Theelection comes as district administrators are pushing coursechanges that have stirred controversy.
Harry Campbell, who is finishing his first term,told 24 Hour News 8 he's running for the same reason he ran thefirst time: he does not believe all GRPS students feel valued --and he says they should.
The changes to class structure pushed by the districtadministration could be a success, Campbell said, if everyone workstogether.
GRPS would be better served if top administrators spent moretime in schools to understand the issues they face, he said.
Amy McGlynn wants a fourth term on the schoolboard.
"We're making elementary work really well and we've got middleschool working really well and I wanted to stay and I want to makehigh school work well," she said.
The third-term board member said the changes pushed bySuperintendent Bernard Taylor are needed to make to give morestudents a chance to learn.
"The delivery model that we have doesn't work for anever-growing percentage of our students," McGlynn said.
Challenger Roger McClary is running because he said "thereseems to be a problem in the way the administration deals with boththe community and the parents and there's a lack of civility andone of the things that I want to do is to help restore that."
Proposed class changes were not well thought out, McClary said.And the district needs to prepare students to compete with theirpeers. "With a 52% graduation rate, we are nowhere close to that,"he said.
Challenger Jon O'Connor, a neighborhood association presidentwho works in real estate, said he sees first-time homebuyers whohesitate to purchase homes in the city because of the schoolsystem. Class changes could be another "obstacle" that keepfamilies away, he said.
Administrators, O'Connor said, didn't put out enough informationabout major changes.
"Whether it's the right decision or the wrong decision, we needto better educate the public about the decisions the district isgoing to make," he said.
Former GRPS teacher and administrator Maureen Quinn Slade is a challenger vying for aseat.
"I have 31 years of experience in education and I think thatmatters," she said.
It was "kind of late in the year" to push the changes Taylorhas, Slade said. "We probably should have involved parents andfamily and students who are concerned as well as teachers and otherstaff as to what the ramifications are and also what the costswould be."
The two candidates with the highest vote totals will win seatsand take office in July.
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