NEGAUNEE - Voters in the Negaunee school district will have to fill two open seats on the school board from a list of three candidates.
Nita Kay Argall and incumbents David Rice and Martin Renaldi will all appear on the ballot Nov. 6, vying for two open seats.
Rice and Renaldi were asked what they saw as the biggest challenges facing the school board in the coming years.
Argall did not return calls for comment.
In Rice's response, he said "School funding needs to be stabilized to assure that sufficient resources continue to be received to keep school districts financially sound. Too often we are forced to rebuild a budget after having funding reduced mid-year."
He also said maintaining a well rounded curriculum was important. "Increased graduatin requirements, while important, have reduced students' available hours for elective courses. As a result, subjects such as the fine arts have seen a decline in enrollment."
"We continually read and hear of school-place violence, be it Columbine or the many college campus shootings," Rice added. "We need to be pro-active and vigilant to assure the safety of our students and staff."
Renaldi also said school funding was an issue, though he said the challenge lies not in the funds from the state, but in the way the district implements those funds.
"Our personnel budget is about 87 percent of our total budget. You're looking at about a $12 million budget, with $10.3 million for benefits and wages," Renaldi said. "We have to learn how to spend the money we do get from Lansing wisely."
Renaldi said recent Michigan legislation that required teachers to pay more for their healthcare and make other concessions on otherwise contentious issues helped the district formulate a budget for the current school year.
"With those laws being play, our budget picture looks a lot better than it used to," Renaldi said. "We want o pay equitable wages, we want to give equitable benefits, and we want to make sure that we have more than $1.7 million that we spread around for the kids. The money we're getting right now should be adequate. It's just a matter of how we spend it."
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. election day.