Recent Muskegon High Graduate Announces Intentions to Throw Hat Into School Board Ring

Andrew Trzaska | July 24, 2011

With Election Day less than four months away, a recent Muskegon Public Schools graduate has publicly declared his candidacy for school board trustee.

Demario Phillips, Muskegon High School class of 2009 told 103.7 The Beat staff last Tuesday of his intentions, stating that a new face on the board could be part of the solution to the district’s problems.

The 21-year old Phillips and has been a Muskegon resident since his graduation two years ago.  Phillips stated that he is a volunteer with Volunteer Muskegon and is involved with United Way of the Lakeshore.

He cites previous experience working on campaigns for both Muskegon County Clerk Nancy Waters and Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington.

Phillips emphasized the recent cut of nearly 30 teachers as an issue point for his campaign.

“It’s time for a new face,” said Phillips. “I’m for the teachers and I’m for the middle class.  I can’t stand to see teachers losing their jobs and their benefits.”

Phillips cited long-sitting, unchanging board members as part of the problem.

“We have these same board members, and we’re still in this predicament.”

Phillips planned on increasing his knowledge of current board business on Tuesday at the Hackley Administration building, however the regularly scheduled board meeting had been cancelled.

Last week, Phillips also spread his message via social media, posting his intention to seek a trustee position on pages of numerous local businesses.

This year is a busy year for the Muskegon School board in terms of organization.

Not only are there multiple seats up for election in November; the board also redesigned their election structure earlier this year by lengthening and staggering terms.

Amidst this all, a trustee, Kevin Donovan, resigned earlier this year as well, and newcomer Lynnette Marks has temporarily filled the seat.

Seats held by board President Rev. Charles Poole, secretary Marian Michalski, trustee Earl “Bill” O’Brien, and trustee Cindy Larson will all be up for election in November.

Two of these four places will be extended from four-year terms to six-year terms after the board realized earlier this year that so many seats could potentially turn over at one time, causing a loss in continuity on the board.

The place Marks temporarily holds will also be up for a two-year partial term as well, bringing the total number of open seats to five.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst