Newcomers battle incumbents for school board spots

Sunday Times Newspapers

Local school boards may see a few new faces after Tuesday’s election, especially for residents of Allen Park, whose residents are part of three different school districts.

In most of that city, three residents vie for two school board positions with Allen Park Public Schools. Paul Klenczar will challenge incumbent trustees Michael Bazzana and Guy DesJardins to change the makeup of the current board.

In northern Allen Park, where children attend Melvindale-Northern Allen Park Public Schools, three candidates to choose from to fill two seats on the Mel-NAP Board of Education. President Deborah Mullins did not file to run again, so Trustee Laura Vela-Wolan will run against K. Austin Thompson and J. Michael Suiter for the two positions.

In the Southgate Community School District, which includes the southern portion of Allen Park (Precinct 16), three candidates are seeking two four-year seats on the Board of Education currently held by Treasurer Sue Murray and Trustee Kimber Labadie.

Murray is seeking re-election, while Labadie did not file to do so. Former board member Paul Knott and Rebecca Reed, seeking her first elective office, are running.

Three candidates are seeking two six-year seats on the Lincoln Park Public Schools Board of Education. Current board members Charles Kaminski and Vernon Wynn are being challenged by Mike Hall.

Four are vying for two four-year seats on the Trenton Public Schools Board of Education. Among them are incumbents Marie Conflitti and Bruce Wyke and newcomers Rehman Bhatti and Tom Kinney.

Conflitti and Wyke both graduated from Trenton High School and have served on the board for 16 years.

Wyandotte Public Schools does not have any school board vacancies up for election, but two are on the ballot for the Riverview Community School District. After Gary Face resigned for health reasons in May, former board member Paula Miller took over the role, but she is not seeking to be elected to a full term. Treasurer Catherine Wells is seeking re-election, but will face Heather Smiley, Robert Hohlfelder and Cindy Houdek for one of the two available positions.

Ballot proposals
Wyandotte residents also will decide on an amendment to the city charter. Residents can vote on whether to delete the section of the city charter that allows anyone who feels aggrieved by a decision of the city’s Board of Review and Equalization to appeal that decision to the City Council. Officials say the section currently is unenforceable due to changes in state law that now provide for appeals of such board decisions to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

Proposal P is a Wayne County Parks measure that would renew millage
to continue upgrades and some major improvements at locations such as Elizabeth Park in Trenton.
In Lincoln Park, Proposal 1 would renew millages for police and fire services, while Proposal 2 is a small renewal for the public library. The special tax bases were created by city residents a few years ago in order to avert closures and layoffs.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in all cities.

(Contact Chris Jackett at