Trenton-Grosse Ile Patch sat down with Trenton Board of Education member Carol Oakley to find out why she decided to not run for another term in November.
Oakley was first appointed to the Trenton Board of Education in Oct. 1983 and was elected to the position in November 1984. She was re-elected over the next 29 years -- consecutively.
Here are the questions followed by Oakley's answers:
Why not run for another term?
"I think it's time to pack it in.
"It's been 28 years. My youngest (daughter) graduated from Trenton High School last June and I don't want to wait until my grandchildren graduate."
Does your leaving have anything to do with the reduction of per-pupil funding last year?
"Absolutely nothing. No"
Does it go through your mind that you might be leaving at a time when Trenton students might need you the most?
"No. It goes through my mind that I'm leaving at a time when they need somebody younger (than me), that can continue to fight these battles.
"The state of educational funding is very sad and it disappoints me, but I think we have an amazing financial manager, administration and teaching body.
"I think everybody is aware of the situation that the district is in and I think they are dedicated to keeping Trenton schools strong and I think they'll find a way to do it."
What advice do you have for the person who takes your place on the board?
"Always look at it from the perspective of what is best for the students. Remember that your staff are your greatest asset. Respect them and help them to understand when you have to make a decision that’s not in their best interest.
"Our board has always been dedicated, and I can't think of a single board member that we've ever had, as long as I've been on the board, who wasn't there because of their dedication to Trenton Public Schools."
Do you have any parting words that you'd like to share?
"I truly appreciate the faith that Trenton voters have placed in me all these years. I've enjoyed it almost every minute. There have been difficult times.
"No one ever, ever wants to layoff a dedicated staff member and more than once I had to vote to do that. As a board member, and as most other board members do, I know we waited with bated breath hoping they would get their recall letter and come back.
"I just appreciate being allowed to be part of Trenton schools. I have three children that have graduated from Trenton schools and I have two grandchildren that are students now.
"Do I think we are the absolute world's best? No. I think there's always room for improvement, but I think that we have prepared our students to go on to bigger and better things, and I know an awful lot of them have.
"I know ill miss it, but its time."