By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON — A spare local election ballot will add at least one new member to the Trenton Public Schools Board of Education. Longtime board member Carol Oakley — approaching 30 years of service to the district — opted not to seek reelection, leaving three candidates to vie for two expiring positions on the panel.
Trenton Clerk Trish Gearhart said that incumbent Wayne G. Sieloff will seek another six-year term on the board; newcomers David M. French and Sean Robert Gearhart — son of city clerk Trish — will be on the November ballot.
School board president Mike Hawkins said that the prospective board members will bring a fresh look at school administration.
“We have two newcomers from opposite ends of the spectrum with a different perspective,” Hawkins said. French, who recently resigned as president of the Trenton Educational Foundation, has children who graduated from the district; Gearhart has one child in the schools and another soon to enroll.
Once seated, the board faces the same issues of many Downriver school districts, Hawkins said.
“Every year, the budget and funding are the challenges,” Hawkins said. “I think reclaiming our status as one of the top
schools not only in Wayne County but in Michigan is the goal of everyone in the administration and on the board. Anyone with ideas to increase the funding would be great.”
Following the November election, Hawkins said the board will in January rotate positions on the panel, a policy of placing members in trustee, treasurer or president chairs on a rotating basis.
“It doesn’t allow one person or group to have autonomy and rule the board,” Hawkins said. “Everybody gets their chance.”
Gearhart said that voters in one Trenton precinct will cast ballots for the Riverview Board of Education. Two four-year terms are being contested by four candidates: Incumbent James Wellman Kiturkes is seeking re-election; board president John Price is not running, and challengers are Amy Colleen Wright, James Joseph Makowski and Michael David Pelkey.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected].)