She may be only 20 years old, but Central Michigan University student Hayley Alderman has big plans for changing the future of Port Huron Area Schools.
Alderman, a Fort Gratiot senior, is running for one of the district’s Board of Education positions and hopes to become a voice of reason for the board.
“I am running because I completely disagree with how the board has run so far,” Alderman said. “The current board members have made it clear that they care more about balancing the budget than the students.”
Alderman added, “Balancing the budget is very important, but we keep writing budgets that raise administrative pay to the detriment of the student experience.”
Vying for one of three open seats in the November election, Alderman said she wants to take the focus back to students and teachers.
“I just graduated from the district I am running in,” she said. “I saw firsthand the problems that were being perpetrated against the students and teachers. I think that some people will say (my age) is a bad thing. However, I feel my age is nothing but a good thing.”
Alderman is a 2012 graduate of Port Huron High School. She will be graduating from CMU in December with a degree in political science with a minor in leadership. Alderman is the executive vice president for the College Democrats at CMU.
Schools in Michigan are rated on a scorecard overview system based on colors. The five colors are based on meeting different strategic goals. Failing to meet these goals will automatically lower the overall scorecard color, even if the school or district is meeting all other goals.
The Port Huron Area School District has an overall scorecard color of orange. Of the 17 schools in the district, two have red scorecards, the lowest rating they can receive. This includes Port Huron High School. The other 15 schools have a score of “yellow,” the middle ranking scorecard color.
One of the main reasons Alderman wants to run for school board is to help increase transparency between the board and its constituents.
“My biggest goal for the school district is to respect the students, value the teachers and honor the tax payers,” she said. “(The current school board) is just spending money needlessly. Education exists for the students.”
Sam McNerney, the president of College Democrats at CMU, said Alderman is passionate and will bring a different perspective to the board of education if she wins in November.
“Hayley has spent so much of her life focusing on education,” the Vestaburg junior said. “It’s important to look at education from the perspective of the young people who are going through it. You have a completely different perspective, a different sense of what needs to be done, on how to do that and a fresh view point.”
Alderman said she believes more young people need to get involved in politics if they want to make a difference in the world.
“We have a lot of good ideas,” she said. “We shouldn’t sell ourselves short. Register to vote. Register to be the person they vote for. If we want our children to grow up in a better world than what we did, then we should go out and hopefully make a difference.”
Alderman said her main focus will be on the school board for the first six months of her term if she’s elected. Alderman added she will be starting law school in the fall 2015, lending her more time to learn how to balance the meetings with her classes.
The St. Clair County Clerk’s Office, which is running the election, said they do not know how many people are in the race yet. The school board election filing deadline is July 22.
Check back with cm-life.com for more on Alderman and her push to become a member of her local school board.