Candidate Q&A: Daniel Alabre, Dexter School Board
Note to readers: The Sun Times News has made its media outlet available to candidates running for public office. Articles published do not reflect an endorsement by the STN. Submissions are from candidates who responded within our guidelines. In order to be as fair and equitable as possible, candidates can submit their responses to four basic questions.
- Who are you?
- Why are you running?
- What issues do you think are important?
- Why should we vote for you?
Candidate’s responses are printed as submitted.
1. Who are you?
I am a husband and father of three children, two of whom are currently in Dexter Schools and one who recently graduated. I retired from the U.S. Army after twenty-eight years as an active-duty Army officer, and my wife and I chose Dexter to raise our family. We chose Dexter for the high educational standards, the community’s commitment to education, and the small-town values of caring for others. I work for Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations as a Director, a position I have held since moving to Michigan seven years ago. I am a member of the American Legion and volunteer in many school activities and sports. I have been serving as an appointed member on the Board of Education for approximately eighteen months. This was my second time seeking an appointment to the Board and I prepared by taking School Board Courses on my own time and being a community volunteer on the Financial & DEI Committees. I currently serve on the Finance and Facilities Committee.
2. Why are you running?
I am running for the Board of Education because just like my dedication to our country, I am dedicated to representing and supporting all of our students, families, and teachers. I am personally invested in our school system and take the intellectual growth of all children seriously. As a proud product of U.S. public schools and universities and having lived in many countries with the U.S. Army, I am acutely aware of the importance of accessibility of public education as well as the opportunity it offers to build a strong foundation from which students can launch themselves into the world. Teachers and public education are being attacked across the country by national interest groups and teachers are leaving the profession because of it. I want to protect our students, teachers, and public education system and let Dexter continue to be the best education in the region.
3. What issues do you think are important?
I believe the three biggest issues for Dexter Schools are safety and security, increasing our already high education and recovering from the Covid Learning Gap, and preventing staff shortages.
Safety & Security: I am committed to providing a safe and secure school district. We will we continue to improve the physical security of our schools, but we cannot build students and teachers into a prison. School should be a place where ideas can be shared safely and thoughtfully with the support of teachers and families and not be attacked by national interest groups. DCS is doing a lot of things well regarding school security, but no matter how much we lock down the school there will always be vulnerabilities. We need to be aware of student behavior and work with parents for any students that may be going down a wrong path. We listened to parents and used some of the ESSR (Covid Federal) funds to create five new counseling positions to help address mental health issues we see coming out of the covid pandemic.
Quality Education: Quality education begins and ends with the teachers we hire to instruct our children and their ability to properly plan and educate. We must continue to press the state of Michigan and our legislators for more funding to increase teacher pay. Secondly, education covers everyone, not just those students who are college-bound. I will continue to support our alternative education programs and work to maintain our near perfect H.S. graduation rate. DCS ranks the highest in almost every standardized testing, especially by the high school years but our data shows that economically disadvantaged students are behind the DCS average. We used ESSR funds to begin summer math and reading enrichment programs for children who need help. I would like to continue this as well provide in-school or after-school tutoring. Parents play a big role in education, and they should be allowed to opt their children out of books and material that may go against their religious beliefs. However, teachers should not be publicly attacked by government officials, parents, and anyone in the community for teaching.
Finally, teachers leaving the profession or not choosing to enter the profession is the third issue I am focused on. Framing it as a “teacher shortage” is false because there are qualified teachers to fill the voids, but rather a resignation of their profession due to low pay, personal attacks on their profession, and lack of safety/security in schools. If elected, I will continue to push our state legislatures to properly fund our schools and to pay educators and staff a proper salary so they can live in the same areas they work. The per-pupil funding from Governor Whitmer is the highest in history this year at $9,150 with additional monies from federal grants, etc. However, the average cost to house a prisoner in the U.S. is approximately $35,000 a year. That alone drives home the disconnect. Teachers are underpaid, infrastructure is lacking in some areas, and class sizes too big in some schools. The decision should not be to forego infrastructure or increase class sizes to pay teachers an adequate salary.
4. Why should we vote for you?
I bring with me the values that were ingrained into me by my parents and 28 years as a military officer; honesty, integrity, and ethics. I am not afraid to stand up for what is right and fight for our children, teachers, and community. I believe in open dialogue even if someone disagrees with my point of view they should be listened to because everyone has something to contribute. If you vote for Daniel Alabre, you will have someone true to their word who will fight for the betterment of Dexter Community Schools every day.