On the Nov. 8 election ballot, voters in the Northville Public Schools district will see two names vying for seats on the school board.
They will run unopposed. They seek to fill seats that will be vacated by Marilyn Price and Libby Smith.
Northville Patch compiled profiles based on information provided by each of the two candidates. See the profile on candidate Scott Craig on Wednesday.
Graduated from Wellesley College, in Massachussets, where she majored in political science and minored in education. She has earned her teaching certification.
Before her children were born, Bartschat was a teacher for five years. She taught mostly middle grades in math, science, social studies and English.
How long a resident of Northville? 7 years
Bartschat is married with four children, all in Northville Public Schools. She has one child at Northville High School, one in middle school and two in elementary school.
Bartschat has been active in the Legislative Action Network, a district-wide PTA committee.
Bartschat explained in a phone interview that her she has lobbied for school funding and education policies in Lansing. She has also testified at several Senate committee meetings and meeting with legislators involved in education policy.
"I participated in the Northville Public Schools district sinking fund study committee and its campaign committee," Bartschat said. "I serve on the Michigan PTA Children's Advocacy Committee and I am a family advisor at the Children's Hospital of Michigan. I also run a non-profit organization, Christoph's ALL Stars, to help kids with cancer."
She also volunteers at her children's schools, participating in things such as ground beautification projects at the schools. She has also been a parking lot crossing guard, helped in classrooms and served as a lunchroom helper. She has also organized blood drives throughout the school district.
Why she is running for school board
"I think it’s a really tenuous time. There’s a lot of changes going on with schools in Michigan," she said. "And I’ve been working pretty closely with our legislators and understand that the troubles are not going away and I feel like I could bring something positive to our district."
"I hope to encourage communication and I also am interested in being part of establishing some kind of policy on bullying. I think that’s going to a hot topic this year," she said.
The following questions were asked and answered via email.
Question: What qualifies you most for a school board position?
Answer: "I am thorough and careful when considering issues and concerns. I like to think creatively to find solutions and I will seek input from stakeholders before making a final decision on big issues. My experience as a parent has presented me with challenges and I have learned to focus on priorities. I have a passion for excellence in education and doing what’s best for our children."
Question: With budget concerns continually facing the district, which programs or areas would be on your priority list? What would top your list to cut?
Answer: "The entire educational program offered in Northville would be my top priority. I believe in educating the whole child and discovering the strengths of the individual students," Bartschat said. "I know that a student who is not engaged academically may discover an interest on a ball field, an art studio or a stage. That positive experience ends up connecting him or her to the school community and suddenly the academics start to click too."
She added, "Before making cuts I would delve into the district’s process efficiency report and find places where the processes could be tightened up to eliminate wasted time, which translates into wasted funds. I would make sure that we are using all of our resources to the fullest potential. I would also determine which expenses could be funded through private donations. The support of the Northville Education Foundation is proving to be essential. This is a relationship that must continue to grow as the budget shrinks."
Question: What do you think are the biggest issues facing the district? How would you handle them?
Answer: "Much of the challenge is keeping up with legislation coming out of Lansing. There have been so many new laws affecting education that sometimes it’s difficult to keep track. I do my best to stay current on legislation affecting public education through several sources, including legislative sessions and committee meetings streaming live from Lansing.
One of the biggest challenges in this coming year will be managing the new funding plan for kindergarten students. The state decided that beginning next school year only full-day kindergarten students would be receiving the full pupil allowance. Half day kindergarten students would only qualify for one half of the allowance. The challenge of this funding change will be the budget impact: either hire more teachers or take a big reduction in funding. Moving to full-day kindergarten will drive up the number of classrooms needed in a building which may strain the physical space in some schools. It may also create some new scheduling challenges at elementary schools, for example, in the lunchrooms. I will make sure that the concerns associated with a change to the kindergarten program have been addressed in a way that is thoughtful and considerate of students, families, and staff.
Another challenge I see first-hand is the population growth in the Southwest region of our district and increasing numbers of students at Ridge Wood Elementary. The district may decide to balance out the students more across the district. That type of change would need to be looked at carefully and would require input from staff and families before rolling out a plan. As a parent, I understand the complexities of change. I would not suggest a plan for any students in Northville Public Schools that would not be acceptable for my own children.
The current funding situation is driving difficult decisions such as privatization. We are now experiencing the transportation services provided by a private company and will soon have a private company providing custodial services in the district. These are changes for the school community and therefore are bound to present some new challenges. We will need to establish and maintain healthy relationships with these companies to promote the best possible environment for our children.
Northville Public Schools are top-notch. The focus in the district has been and must remain on the academic success of students. I look forward to the opportunity to serve our children, our families, and the entire school community."
To directly contact Bartschat, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.