By Andrew Cluley- AAPS Communications Specialist
With Trustee Donna Lasinski winning election to serve as State Representative for the 52nd District starting in January, the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education is looking for a new trustee to serve on the board. Lasinksi announced at this week’s school board meeting she was resigning effective immediately. State law requires the board fill the vacant seat for the remainder of the term through the end of 2018 within 30 days.
Lasinski brought four different letters of resignation to the meeting, unsure of which day she would make her resignation official. In the end she opted for resigning immediately so candidates and the school board could act ahead of this year’s winter break. Lasinski says the immediate resignation also will provide more transparency than forcing the board to act over the break. “As I sat here thinking about how important it was that we conduct all of our business in public that continues to be a value that resonates with me, a value I hope to take with me to Lansing where it’s not particularly valued,” she said.
As Lasinski announced her resignation she thanked each of the other members of the board and Superintendent Jeanice Swift, highlighting their strengths. Lasinksi then asked the board members to stay with her on her journey as she serves in Lansing.
With Lasinski’s campaign based on promoting education, AAPS School Board Vice-President Christine Stead said Lasinski’s win was the lone bright spot on election night. Stead added Lasinski may be the only lawmaker in Lansing who will be able to help push Michigan’s education system into the top ten in the country. “You will not only go to Lansing and work hard on behalf of schools, but you will also be a person that can help change the system,” Stead said.
Other school board members have high hopes for what Lasinski can do at the state capitol to promote public education as well. President Deb Mexicotte told Lasinski they will still be working closely with her. “I think you have 16 different things that we are sending you to Lansing to take care of for us, and so it’s hard to imagine that the dialogue with you as a leader, with you as a legislator, and with you as a friend is going to in any way be diminished,” Mexicotte said.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift cautioned Lansing that Lasinski is only on loan from the Ann Arbor Public Schools and will be there with support from the district. Swift added Lasinski has always been consistent on working for all students. “I feel like you approach the work here, and I know you will approach the work in Lansing with the deepest sense of social justice,” She said. “That every child would have the opportunities that your children have had, and that every child would have those regardless of their zip code, their socio-economic status, their race, their gender, or the position of their parents.”
Applications for the vacant seat on the Board of Education are being accepted until November 28th. The board plans on choosing a candidate and seating them at the December 14th meeting.