Dashner, Laszlo seek South Lyon school board position

Craig Dashner and Teresa Laszlo are vying for a single part-term seat on the South Lyon Board of Education. Term ends December 31, 2024.

Hometown Life sent identical questionnaires to both candidates to learn more about them and their positions on education issues. Meet your candidates:

Craig Dashner has been a resident of the commune of Lyon for 24 years and his second child will graduate from Lycée Sud Lyon Est this year. The civil engineer works on road and bridge construction projects and is a structural specialist who has co-authored a book on trench rescue shoring used worldwide for emergency response. He served as a PTO officer during his children’s elementary years and served four years on the school board, including two as president. He has taken several courses on finance, policy, and board member responsibilities through the Michigan Association of School Boards.

Therese Laszlo is a 6-year-old resident of South Lyon and has a daughter in 4th grade at Bartlett Elementary. She has volunteered for the Bartlett PTO and at the Salem-Sud Lyon district library. She has 15 years of experience in teaching, education administration and curriculum design and is currently global head of a learning and corporate development department, where she plays an advisory role to of the management team.

More school board election coverage:Four confrontations for two seats with a full mandate at the South Lyon Rectorate

What qualifies you to be a member of a school board and why do you want to hold this position? What do you see as the role of a school board member?

Dashner: I have served on the board for 4 years (part-term seat) and chairman of the board for two years. I enjoy serving the community to keep our schools excellent and I feel I can be effective since I have already learned the background over the past 4 years. A board member’s role is to oversee the work of the superintendent, adopt annual budgets, and set the direction of the district. Changes to the district are made by making small deliberate changes to achieve the desired result.

Laszlo: My experience in teaching (15 years), educational administration, curriculum design and leading a learning and business development department gives me valuable expertise and perspective. regarding education in our community. I have long been eager to find the best way for me to support our school district and help represent our community. It is the school board’s job to establish effective policies that represent our community, that help the administration and staff do their jobs. Because school governance thrives when there is a strong relationship with the public, I will listen to the community, our experienced educators and staff.

Are you satisfied with the general direction of the district? Why or why not?

Laszlo: The current orientation of our district has many interesting facets. Overall, the school board has done a reliable job in managing the affairs of the district, helping to establish school and district policy. For example, the board has maintained and developed programs, expanded supports for mental health and student services, selected a superintendent, and worked hard to recruit and retain excellent teachers and other school staff who continue to show commitment. ‘effective learning and dedication to students despite very difficult years. Of course, there are always ways to improve ourselves as a district, and my goal is to be part of that process.

Dashner: I better be, ’cause I got a hand in it. The neighborhood is well placed. We are financially strong, have just had several fair contracts for our employees and have good performance from our students. We have a good council that works together for good results for the district. We need to focus on compensating for the learning loss that occurred during the state-mandated Covid shutdowns. We started this with the summer programs that took place and additional supports put in place for many buildings.

What should the school district’s priorities be in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how it spends ARPA funds?

Craig Dashner

Dashner: There are certain limits on ARPA funds that dictate what they can be spent on and it is important to realize that this is “one-time money”. Using it to increase salaries or positions would create sustainability issues in future years. Some can be used for staff, but there must be a long-term funding plan. The Summer Learning Programs used these funds by offering a special program for at-risk students.

Laszlo: The school district’s priorities should always be to provide a quality educational experience for our students. We should use these particular funds to replace lost public sector revenue and spend the funds on safety and security to provide the safest learning environment possible.

Issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion are a recurring conversation among students, staff and the community at large. What concrete action can local districts take to address diversity, equity and inclusion?

Therese Laszlo

Laszlo: This topic is extremely important to me. As a district, we must always insist on equity for all students, regardless of race, sex, religion, nationality, gender identity, legal status, physical or mental difficulty and/or their socioeconomic status. Diversity, equity and inclusion have a direct impact on success. When we recognize the different backgrounds, cultures and abilities of children, we are better able to design programs to facilitate their success. It also helps our children appreciate all people as they take their place as citizens in our diverse world. One tangible action we can take at the board level is to form a DE&I committee that can collect data and feedback from the community.

Dashner: DEI can be a very polarizing topic. I believe that diversity means that difference is acceptable and accepted, equity means that all students should have the same educational opportunity and inclusion means that all students should feel safe and comfortable at school. If there’s one thing I could do, it would be to create the kind of in-home family support that all of our students don’t have in order to increase their success in school and after graduation. diploma.

School districts have seen student enrollment drop dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic to private, charter, home or non-school options. Since school funding is directly tied to enrollment, what do you think of the Schools of Choice policies and how would you attract new returning students to the district?

Dashner: Community schools in southern Lyon have seen a drop in enrollment during COVID, but not a dramatic drop. Our community continues to grow, home building continues within our boundaries, and I expect our listings to continue to increase slightly over the next few years. The goal is to keep our great teachers, keep district performance at high levels, and stay away from the polarizing buzz that some schools seem to attract by wading out of educational purpose with their policies and purpose. .

Laszlo: I strongly believe in the value of public education for society. I would prioritize student success to attract students to our district. We can work on ways to improve the student experience by adding additional athletic opportunities as well as STEM-focused academic programs. We should embrace innovation in our approach to this challenge.

What issue is the district facing that isn’t on residents’ radar? What steps would you take to solve this problem?

Laszlo: In addition to providing a curriculum that helps all students, we must prepare our students for the career path they choose upon graduation, whether that be working, attending technical college , get a job in the trades or attend university.

Dashner: Anxiety – the level of anxiety among our students has increased dramatically. Covid made the situation worse. As we get back to normal, we (the community and schools) need to focus on reducing this anxiety among students. Schools have added counselors and social workers to help students who need help. I think we can all step in and help students overcome their anxiety or prevent it from starting in younger students.

Contact reporter Susan Bromley at sbromley@hometownlife.com or 517-281-2412. Follow her on Twitter @SusanBromley10.

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