New VP Need sees need for state funding reform

Greg Need

BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer

Greg Need has served on the Clarkston Community Schools Board of Education since 2015 and will be the board’s new vice president for the 2019-20 school year.
He was elected to his new role at the July 8 board meeting.
“It’s a great honor that my fellow board members have confidence that I can effectively serve in a leadership position again,” Need said. “We agree on the basic goals and direction of CCS and support our administration’s efforts to get there. When we disagree on an issue, we listen carefully and consider other points of view, and try and reach consensus, recognizing that we all want what’s best for our kids.”
Originally appointed in May 2015 to fill a vacancy, Need was then elected to a six-year term in 2016. He has served as treasurer for three years and has also chaired the policy committee for the last two.
He identified state funding as the biggest challenge in being on the board.
“Because of a flawed historical formula, CCS is at the bottom of the list of school districts in terms of what we receive from the state per pupil,” said Need. “Proposals are constantly floated in the legislature to reduce the state School Aid Fund to spend money in other areas. I agree the roads need to be fixed, but not on the backs of our students. I support the CCS administration’s creative efforts in seeking out new funding sources so that we have adequate, stable resources to serve our students, and the efforts of MASB, our statewide organization of school boards, to work with state officials and legislators to protect our funding.”
Another challenge is keeping on top of all the changes in laws and regulations affecting school districts, as well as the latest trends and strategies in effectively teaching our students, Need said.
“Along with my fellow board members, I participate in several conferences and classes throughout the year presented by MASB, Oakland Schools, and others,” explained Need. “Our administration regularly presents workshops to the board to keep us informed of these trends and their plans to improve student achievement.”
When asked what makes him proud of the district, Need said it’s everyone being on the same page.
“I’m proud that, from top to bottom, we have administration, teachers, and staff that are committed to the ‘whole child’ approach,” said Need. “We have learned that we cannot just focus on teaching strategies but must also strive to improve the overall well-being of every one of our students, socially and emotionally, and create a learning environment that makes our students feel safe and secure. This approach requires school and community partnerships to work, and we’ve been successful creating them and in seeking to expand. Clarkston is a community with a large population yet has retained that ‘small-town’ feeling where we work together and support each other. That feeling is a great source of community pride. CCS has been a part of creating that environment.”
Even so, there will always be areas of improvement for Clarkston schools, according to Need.
“We recently approved a new strategic plan for the next five years,” Need said. “Allocating resources so every student gets the support he or she needs in order to close achievement gaps is a top priority in the plan. Through the process of approving the CCS budget, the board is responsible for that allocation.
“We’ll see real results in terms of growth when we can apply that level of hyper-equity to our resource allocation.”