Five people are vying for three seats on Northville's school board in the November election and Northville Patch is bringing you Q&A profiles with each of the candidates.
We asked the candidates about why they want to be on the board of education, their backgrounds, what they consider the biggest areas for improvement and more.
Below are the replies of Northville Township resident Adam Phelps, who is a Purchasing Manager at the Ford Motor Company.
Q: Number of years a resident of Northville school district?
Resident of the Northville school district for seven years
Q: What prompted you to run for a seat on Northville's school board?
Two reasons: 1) My kids are going to be in this school district for the next 10 years and 2) I felt my strengths and experience would make me a great candidate who could have a positive impact on the direction of the school board
Q: What kinds of experiences – professional, educational or otherwise – make you an unique and qualified candidate?
The charter of the board is closely aligned with the primary responsibilities I've had in my career at Ford. I have managed budgets, personnel, set policy with our business partners and have found creative ways to minimize spending.
Q: What new ideas do you hope to bring to the table?
One of my priorities is to make sure our residents and teachers have more input in decisions being made by the board. I will make sure there is data transparency and open communication. In addition, I will not support any decision without first giving full consideration to the impact it would have on our students and teachers.
Q: What do you foresee as the biggest issue for Northville Public Schools in the coming school year? How would you address those issues, if elected?
The biggest issue will continue to be budget constraints, especially if the technology bond doesn't pass in November. The district is already lean and will be faced with more difficult decisions. If elected, I will use my experience as a Purchasing Manager to help the district spend efficiently and frugally.
Q: What do you regard as the district's successes? How would you continue or improve upon these areas, if elected?
The district has historically been very successful with academic achievement. Most of the schools in the district scored better than 90 percent of schools tested statewide. But at the same time, three of our schools have been identified as "Focus Schools" where there are large achievement gaps between the top test scores and the bottom. I see this as an opportunity for Northville to work on closing this gap without compromising the performance of our top achievers.
Q: Around the country, state and in Northville, school budgets continue to be an issue districts grapple with. What areas of the budget would be your biggest priority, if elected? Where do you see the most room for cuts, if needed?
Classroom services and support staff make up over 90 percent of our expenditures and the question is how do we spend efficiently without reducing teachers and increasing class size. As evidenced by outsourcing transportation and janitorial services, the district is already addressing non-classroom spending to make sure we are as lean as possible. I would continue to pursue opportunities to reduce non-critical spending and eliminate any waste in areas like infrastructure and support staff.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
If elected to the Board of Education, I am prepared to make the commitment required to be a fully active and productive trustee. I will take the time and initiative to listen to our residents and teachers to make sure their voices are heard before decisions are made by the board. Please visit my website at www.votephelps.com for more information about my candidacy.