By DANIEL HERATY
HEIGHTS — Four candidates are seeking three spots on the Westwood Community School District Board of Education in the May 3 election.
Incumbent Sandra Rich, Mario Fundarski and Donald Willis are running for two four-year seats that expire June 30, 2015.
Sarah Ward is running unopposed for a third seat, a partial term ending June 30, 2013.
Fundarski, 66, of Inkster, said he opposes teaching the Mandarin Chinese language to district students because China is a Communist country, and that nobody was told ahead of time that such teaching would take place.
He wants to abolish the district, saying half of it should merge with Inkster Public School District and the other half with Dearborn Heights School District No. 7. He believes the current Westwood board has failed, and that it has “done nothing” to benefit the district.
“Many believe the district should not exist at all,” he said, adding that it has been around since before the cities of Dearborn Heights and Inkster, which also is part of Westwood.
“Westwood exists because it is a school-of-choice (district),” Fundarski said, but added that the ultimate decision on its continued existence is out of his hands.
“Only the state Legislature can do that,” he said.
Fundarski said he would end May elections, which he believes cost the district too much money, but that he hopes residents turn out for him this time around.
Willis, 52, from Dearborn Heights, has done volunteer work in the district, where he said he is active four to five hours a day, including helping the students of Thorne Primary School fold the American flag into a triangle after taking it off the flagpole every morning.
He said many residents know him as the “Popcorn Man” because he has helped raise money by selling popcorn.
Willis said he will keep fighting for the district.
“I believe in the district wholeheartedly,” he said, adding that he is determined to make sure the children’s education is paramount among the board’s concerns. He said his daughter is one of the first graduating classes from Tomlinson Middle School.
“I can’t say enough about her,” he said. “I give credit to the Westwood district for all her hard work.”
He said the district’s recent cuts in teacher staffing is one move he would like to have explained.
“It seems we are spending a lot of money in one place,” he said. “What about the people with experience? There are teachers who don’t just try to push the kids through.
“They’re going beyond what they’re supposed to.”
Telephone calls to candidate Sandra Rich seeking comment for this story were not returned by press time.
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected])