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Monday, November 5, 2012

School Board Candidates Howard Baron, Joan Berndt, and Ingrid Day Win Lion's Share of Major Election Endorsements

The following  is the current endorsement tally.

6 Year Term Election
  • Howard Baron (5) Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield Magazine, Eccentric Newspaper,  Bloomfield Hills Education Association, Leo Savoie Township Supervisor, and One Bloomfield United
  • Ingrid Day (5) Downtown  Birmingham Bloomfield Magazine, Eccentric Newspaper,  Bloomfield Hills Education Association, Leo Savoie Township Supervisor, and One Bloomfield United.
  • W.F. Moigis (0)                              

2 Year Term Election
  • Joan Berndt (4) Downtown  Birmingham Bloomfield Magazine, Eccentric Newspaper,  Bloomfield Hills Education Association,  and Leo Savoie Township Supervisor.
  • Robert Herner (1) Leo Savoie Township Supervisor.
  • Jenny Greenwell (0).                             
Endorsements are not the Holy Writ. They are however interesting glimpses into thinking that may help the undecided voter define or refine his or her thinking. In the six year  school board term voter  may for two candidates That's because two seats are vacant (Herner's and Day's) Herner chose however to seek a two year term in other election where only one seat  was up for grabs. That is the remaining two years on the November 2011 vacancy Joan Berndt was appointed by a unanimous vote of the Board to fill. By law she has to seek the voters approval to complete the term the Board appointed her to. at first available election which is now.

If Berndt had opted to run for for the six year term (the law says she must  seek voter approval to continue on the board but it doesn't say for how long) there would be not two year term election.  Then all six candidates would run  in one election for six year terms and to given to the top three vote getters.

Berndt appointed  a year ago believed it proper to seek voter approval  to complete the two years on three year term she was appointed to rather than to seek after only a year on a Board a six year term that would end a year shy of the end of the decade.

The six term initially mandated for school boards by Governor Snyder as way to save money by eliminating elections has been withdrawn. In it's place the state's school districts can  vote to decide on four or six year terms. The Bloomfield Hills District has decided on four year terms.A shorter term will occur only in the event of a vacancy.

The two year term appealed to candidates Jenny Greenwell  and Robert Herner who claim that they are uniquely qualified for it. The term  corresponds with the construction of the new high school and the two candidates  have campaigned separately  on the promise of overseeing the building project and one has stated one has added the emphasis "on time and on budget". Some have have questioned whether this is a function of a member of the board of education  and only one  third partyh as mentioned this "unique qualifcation" in an endorsement .

The Eccentric Newspaper wrote "Herner is an excellent candidate, who has a strong background in finances, but so does Baron. Berndt, however, has strongly focused on the arts, something that tends to get overlooked in these days of constantly dealing with financial issues. She brings balance to the board.

In regards to the new high school the Eccentric wrote "Now the board must devote its attention to the complex process of building the new high school. They have shown for the most part they are up to the task.Accordingly, we endorse the re-election of incumbents Ingrid Day and Joan Berndt for re-election as well as newcomer Howard Baron.

The Eccentric wrote of agonizing choices. Downtown Birmingham Bloomfield Hills Magazine suffered no such pains. In an endorsement article that made no mention of  Herner or Greenwell the publication said Joan Berndt, appointed in 2011 to fill an open seat, should retain that post. Of the three candidates running, she is best qualified for a seat at the board table until the term ends in 2014.

Current board president INGRID DAY has helped the district navigate shark-infested waters, hiring and working with superintendent Robert Glass on combining two high schools into one, working with outside educational consultants to determine the district's needs, and helping pass a bond proposal to accomplish those goals. Now comes the hard part—implementing the plan of consolidation. Day deserves the opportunity to continue the job to completion. 

Newcomer HOWARD BARON's ideas will augment the thinking of the board.

The next endorsement caused agonizing among the candidates who did not wish  to appear beholden to anyone by accepting it. Candidates  Baron and Day did not make mention of it on their web sites. 

 Candidate Berndt published it on her web site with her other endorsements. It appears below.

Bloomfield Hills Education Association
For Immediate Release:
The BHEA Screening and Recommendation Committee  just finished our interviews, and we will be endorsing the following candidates for the Bloomfield Hills Board of Education:

Ingrid Day
Howard Baron
Joan Berndt

 Berndt's campaign  also  published the following ......
The BHEA has endorsed Joan as the best candidate for the 2 year term. As promised, Joan is sticking to her principles of not accepting any union or corporate PAC money. She is honored to receive the teachers' endorsement with no strings attached.

 One Bloomfield United, an organization of  school district residents and some students who generally support the the School Board. In terms organization and hard get out the vote they can claim a portion of the successful passage of the bond issue last May. 

OBU wasted no time endorsing Howard Baron and Ingrid Day. That is because they are in an election where the voter can choose two candidates. They are not competing against each other. They same is not true in 2 year term election where Candidates Joan Berndt and Rob Herner are very much competing against each other and only one will get elected. The matter was deemed far more important than personal  disappointment because of the candidacy of Jenny Greenwell who last year  opposed the Bond issue for the new high school.  The thought of school board supporters losing two board members (Berndt and Herner) and gaining Jenny prompted much widespread agonizing and  Chicken Little (The sky is falling !) conversations  Later OBU applauded Berndt and Herner as the " only qualified candidates in the two year term race and  noted their o support of  the bond issue. A page on the OBU web sight depicts  Baron, Berndt, Day, and Herner and provides links to their web sites.

Over the weekend  however Brandon Kaufman  of OBU reported than 4,000 door hangers were being distributed.  These were according to Kaufman made possible by locally raised funds donated to OBU. The door hangers support only Baron and Day who this publication regards as almost certain winners. Kaufman holds a different opinion and said the worst would be if Ingrid Day were not re-elected.

Last but not least, The endorsement of Leo Savoie, Bloomfield Township Supervisor was highly sought after by candidates  in many local elections. In the school board campaign he gave it to Ingrid Day who he  has worked with in her role as school board President. He also endorsed  Howard Baron who in preparing for his run for the school board, spoke with Supervisor Savoie on numerous occasions. That prompted the Joan Berndt campaigning running in the 2 year term election to ask for the Supervisor's endorsement which was also granted. Rob Herner was the last in line publishing Savoie 's endorsement on his web site  just this weekend.

As Bloomfield Township Supervisor, I know how important it is to have relationships that are respectful and cooperative. That is why I support Ingrid Day in her bid for re-election to the Bloomfield Hills School Board. I have worked with Ingrid in both her capacity as president of the school board and president of Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition (BBCC). She always acts with integrity. She is genuinely interested in the welfare of our students and communication with our entire community.
--Leo Savoie, Bloomfield Township Supervisor

Leo Savoie, Bloomfield Township Supervisor - "As Bloomfield Township Supervisor, I have had a number of conversations with Howard Baron about both township and school district topics.  He does his homework, listens to both sides, and then develops well-reasoned and level headed solutions to the often contentious issues that confront us.  I know that Howard will be valuable asset to have on the Bloomfield Hills School Board and I look forward to working with him there to keep the area a magnificent place to live."

Leo Savoie, Bloomfield Township Supervisor
"Joan Berndt is highly qualified and I support her efforts to complete her term on the Board. She has my vote!"


"As a board member, Rob's expertise in school construction and instructional technology will be invaluable as the district moves forward on the New High School Project,"
-Leo Savoie- Bloomfield Township Supervisor

As Supervisor Savoie suggests there is more than one good candidate in the race. He like the voters will have tough choices to make on election day.   What is interesting is that he gave his highly coveted endorsement in the order it was asked. The moral being don't ask don't get.

One wonders how many voters in the school district have been asked for their vote by the school board candidates or their supporters. In person. By door bell ring or telephone call. We would venture that only a small minority have been contacted personally by candidate or their supporter. It seems many just assume they deserve your vote because you have presumably received explanatory postcards.

True everyone is being bombarded by campaign literature and  telephone calls from literally dozens of candidates for all offices. Many are the so called "robocall "automatic messages which are particularly irritating. We have however have seen  a great willingness of  residents throughout  the district  to accept and even engage in personal contacts by the candidates or their supporters. Residents are interested in the schools and this school board election.

Tomorrow the School Board candidates and their supporters will be at the polls asking for for maybe the first time and the last time for your vote. Feel free to ask why you should grant it.

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