Full slate of candidates running for seats on the Crawford AuSable School Board of Education
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Crawford AuSable School District is in a state of transition, which is clearly being reflected by the number of candidates vying for seats on the board.
Three sitting Crawford AuSable School Board members are being challenged on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.
Stacey Huber, Lon Gauthier, Wendy Kucharek, Lori Johnson, Mark Snyder, and Carol Ramaswamy filed to run for three full five-year terms on the board. The filing deadline was Tuesday, July 24.
Kucharek is the current school board president, Ramaswamy serves as the school board secretary, and Huber is a trustee on the board. Huber was appointed to the board in September 2017, to replace Rick Febey. Febey moved out of the community.
Huber is a mortgage originator. She has two daughters enrolled in the Extended Learning Year program at the Grayling Elementary School.
Johnson retired from her position as a special education teacher at the Grayling Middle School in June. She worked for the school district for 34 years. She has two grown daughters.
Kucharek was an employee with the Crawford AuSable School District from 1988 through 2011. She served as a cook at the Grayling Elementary School, hall monitor at the Grayling Middle School, and library paraprofessional at Frederic Elementary School and Grayling Middle School.
Ramaswamy is a retired nurse who worked at Mercy Hospital Grayling, which is now Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital. She has four grown children.
Gauthier operates 4 Mile Welding, and his wife, Amy Gauthier, is a teacher at the Grayling Elementary School. The couple has one school-age daughter.
Mark Snyder is as a part-time maintenance director for Northern Pines Assisted Living Community in Grayling and at the Cherry Hill Haven in Kalkaska. He has two children attending school, and is actively involved in the leadership of the Grayling RoboVikes program.
David Malm, the current school board vice president, is running unopposed for a two-year term. Huber currently holds that position on the board.
Malm retired after 30 years in the forest products industry with the Weyerhaeuser Company. He has three grown daughters.
This is the second time school board elections have been held on the November general election ballot. State lawmakers moved the election from the spring to the fall in hopes of encouraging more voter involvement.
In 2017, no candidates filed to run for an open seat on the board. Nicole Persing-Wethington, a current trustee on the board, was elected as a write-in candidate.
The school board is about to start a search for a permanent superintendent. Joe Powers retired from severing as the school district’s superintendent on March 31 after holding the position for 13 years. Powers is now under contract with the school district on a part-time basis, and is assisting the superintendent search.
School officials are also in the process of hiring teachers, since 15 teachers retired at the end of the school year.
And school leaders are also in the early stages of planning for the Crawford AuSable Activity Center, a multi-purpose building where physical fitness and other activities would take place.
A millage renewal for non-homestead property, which includes business property and secondary homes, will also be on the ballot.
The proposal would allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residences and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its per pupil foundation allowance.
If approved, $18 would be taxed on each $1,000 of taxable valuation. The tax assessment would be levied on non-homestead property in Crawford County and portions of Kalkaska County and Otsego County which are within the school district’s boundaries. The millage, which would be collected for two years, would provide over $5.1 million per year in operating funds for the school district.