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Three running for school board|Grose says students, staff and community are his main concerns as a board member

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 11:58 AM

After 30 years as a middle school teacher, 15 years as athletic director and four years on school board, Michael Grose thinks he brings a necessary perspective to the Norwalk Board of Education.

Grose said he looks at every decision before the board with three concerns in mind — students, staff and the community. “I take them all into account,” he said.

Once he retired, Grose said, he decided that he could pay back the system he attended as a student and worked in for decades by serving on the school board. “I’d like to continue paying back to the community,” he said.

Financial and budgetary concerns continue to be issues the board must handle, Grose said. “Right now we’re in the black and we need to continue that,” he said, but unfunded mandates from the state are affecting the district’s finances.

“There’s a list of about 20 or 25 things we have to do now,” he said, such as replacing all much on playgrounds because of the danger of mold and chaining up all cafeteria tables because a student elsewhere in the state was killed when a table fell on him.

The school’s retirement contribution for employees also is going up, Grose said. “That could cost Norwalk over $1 million over five years,” he said.

Grose said he is proud that Norwalk schools have gotten a good report card from the state. “We’re now considered an excellent school system and we need to continue,” he said.

Opening up the new high school made a big difference, Grose said. “The technology that we’re able to give the kids is great,” he said. “It’s a much better situation.”

Renovating Main Street School for fifth and sixth grades is also a positive move, Grose said.

He added that the board still has money set aside for a possible addition to the high school. He said the money is left over from initial construction costs and is earmarked for the high school.

With some large classes now coming through the district, Grose said, adding to the high school might be necessary in the next few years. He said adding four classrooms would cost about a $1 million and the district has between $600,000 and $700,000 available already. “We’re keeping a pretty close eye on it,” he said.

Michael Peter Grose

Age: 56

Family: Wife Christine; son Ryan; daughter Renee

Address: 4 Arlington Court.

Occupation: 30 years as a teacher for Norwalk City Schools, 25 years as co-owner of a painting business

Education: graduate of Norwalk High School, B.A. from Graceland College in Iowa, M.A. from Ashland University

Previous Public Service: four years on Norwalk Board of Education

Why did you decide to run: Having taught at Norwalk for 30 years, I believed I could bring an informed perspective to the board. I also felt I owed back to the community that supported me at Norwalk as a student/athlete, as a teacher/coach and as an athletic director. I have contact with Norwalk schools for nearly 50 years and I’d like to continue.

What do you see as the top three concerns facing your constituents: 1) Handling school finances, keeping the district in the black while dealing with increases in insurance, unfunded school mandates and building upkeep

2) Test scores - working with staff and administrators to keep our district on top of test scores and keep our district report card improving each year. I believe we are an excellant school district and I’d like to see the state reports to show that as well.

3) Keeping up with technology for our students and staff

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