SL school board has three candidates

Three candidates are running for two open seats on the Spring Lake Public Schools school board.
Krystle Wagner
Oct 16, 2012

When voters take to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6, they will have to choose two candidates to each serve a four-year term.

Incumbent Lisa Ashcraft hopes to continue serving on the board, where she has held a seat since 1996.

Ashcraft, her children, and now her grandchildren have all attended Spring Lake Public Schools. She said she first became active with the schools when her children attended because she wanted to show children the importance of communities.

Ashcraft is a member of the Rotary Club of Spring Lake, has a teaching degree and has worked in banking for the past 35 years. Ashcraft said wants to give back to the community that gave her a lot when she was growing up.

While schools are faced with tough issues, Ashcraft said there are things to also get excited about. Ashcraft said she’s interested in continuing to see how technology is integrated into the curriculum.

If re-elected, Ashcraft said she will be faced with a tight budget and making sure programs don’t suffer as a result.

“The most important thing we do is keep standards as high as we can,” she said.

Incumbent Dennis Devlin, who has served on the school board since 2008, is running for another term.

Devlin spent the last 35 of his 38 years in the education field by teaching at Grand Valley State University. He said his experience has taught him about making financial budgets and administrative decisions.

Devlin said schools have faced a lot of challenges in the past three to four years because of budget cuts, which has forced administrators to choose what to cut without damaging the curriculum.

He said the school board made changes, and he would like to see them through.

If re-elected, Devlin said he expects to be faced with tight budget while keeping the district as one of the top in the state and moving forward with items such as technology.

“Education is what in many respects determines the future of the country,” he said.

Sgt. Curt Theune of the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department is also running for a seat on the school board.

Theune is a graduate of Spring Lake Public Schools, and has two students in the district. He said he feels like now is the time to have a positive influence on the school system for his children and all students in the district.

He said he’s done a lot as a parents and member of the Spring Lake Schools Foundation, but he feels he can do more.

He said the school board needs to maintain or strengthen public schools and provide an open ear to encourage staff and the district as well as bridge the gap between the district, community, parents and students.

Theune said the next school board member will have to find additional funding venues because of the decreasing amount of state funding. Instead of looking at education as a cost, Theune said it should be looked at as an investment.

“We’re investing in our kids,” he said.
 

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