The race for two seats on the state Board of Education features a clash between candidates who have ties with the Tea Party and have affiliations with unions.
Party affiliations don’t usually have any effect on the decisions of the board, but no matter how voters decide on Nov. 6 the Democrats will maintain control of the board.
The Board of Education helps direct school policies for about 550 districts and nearly 300 charter schools.
The Democrats have had control of the eight-seat board for many years and in the event the Republicans take control of both seats, there will be a 4-4 split on the board.
The seats have been vacated by longstanding member Marianne Yared McGuire, who declined a third term, and Nancy Danhof, who was denied a chance to run for re-election by the Republican Party.
The Democrats on the ballot are Lupe Ramos-Montigny of Grand Rapids and Michelle Fecteau of Detroit.
Ramos-Montigny is a former Grand Rapids Public Schools teacher and administrator. She finished fourth when she ran for the board in 2010. Fecteau is the executive director of a group that represents the faculty and staff and Wayne State University.
Melanie Kurdys and Todd Courser are the two Tea Party Republicans on the ballot.
Kurdys was a member of the Portage Board of Education and served on many other committees associated with the school system.
Courser is from Lapeer and ran for a state Senate seat in 2010. According to his website, he is “100 percent pro-life, pro-family and pro-marriage.”