Saline School Board President Lisa Slawson announced Monday she will not seek re-election.
"It has been an honor to serve over the last eight years. I've cherished the support of the people of the Saline community,” Slawson said. "I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to serve. I fully intend to stay active in the district.”
Slawson began serving on school board in 2004. After more than eight years on the board, Slawson said she couldn’t commit to serving a six-year term.
She said this year was the toughest, as the school board negotiated millions of dollars in concessions with school unions to nearly eliminate the district’s structural deficit, avoid layoffs and privatization of support staff.
“I think leave the district in excellent financial shape. The unions showed they were a true partner with the district and they stepped and gave,” Slawson said.
Slawson will finish serving her term, which ends Dec. 31, 2012.
Slawson said she was making the announcement Monday to give interested citizens the chance to file for election ahead of the Aug. 14 deadline.
She advised potential candidates to run for the right reasons.
“There’s only one reason you should sit on the board of education, and that’s the education of kids in the school district,” Slawson said.
There are two seats open in the November election. Chuck Lesch has also announced he is not seeking re-election. Diane Friese and Smita Nagpal, who filed for election Monday, are the only candidates who have filed thus far.
Slawson and Dawn Ducca announced this spring they were running as a team. Attempts to reach Ducca Monday were unsuccessful.
Even beyond challenging budgets, Slawson said the job has become tougher in recent years, with 24-hour-a-day news coverage and political agendas.
“When I got here in 2004, we didn’t have a 24-hour news cycle and people hiding behind screen names (on Internet news sites). You need to have tough skin and realize there are so many other things now going on at this platform. Politics is one of them,” Slawson said. “So you need to be focused on why you are here, set aside your micromanager’s hat and remember that you’re in a partnership with the board and superintendent.”
Slawson, who said her role on the board was that of a facilitator and bridge builder, said she tried to stay true to the people who elected her.
“That’s probably what I am most proud of. I hope I was a good steward of the district and trustee for the children’s education. And I hope I celebrated the teachers and made them feel that they are an integral part of the district,” Slawson said