District welcomes new board members

By DANIEL HERATY
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS – Dearborn Heights District 7 School Board members welcomed two new members following the Nov. 8 election.

Robert Brown and Vickie Bracken took their seats as school board trustees at the regular meeting Nov. 21.

Cary Thompson, who ran unopposed for a six-year term, did not attend the meeting.

Braken spent 31 years working as a custodian and a school bus driver for the district. She admitted some apprehension when approaching her new role, saying most of her school board experience came as an audience member.

“I was a little scared at first,” Braken said, “It was something new to me.”

The district’s finances, including an estimated $2.4 million general fund deficit, and bringing more students into the district through Schools of Choice, which allows for an out-of-district student to enroll elsewhere with out prior approval from the student’s district of residence, are the most pressing issues facing the board, she said.

Due to the holidays, she said, no discussions on major issues will happen until January 2012.

Brown, a volunteer at Bedford Elementary since 1997, said being elected to the board was an honor. He began to consider a school board campaign following a car accident, which left him unable to continue work as a truck driver. Initially, he planned to return to school while volunteering at Bedford Elementary when parents in the district approached him about running for the school board.

Although he hasn’t yet put much thought into anti-bullying policies, it is a big issue, particularly in middle schools, he said.

“Suspensions doesn’t seem to work,” he said. “So we have to figure out other ways.”

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)