The Nov. 6 general election is drawing closer every day, but what do you really know about those local names on the ballot?
Patch is interviewing candidates running for the Birmingham Board of Education during the ramp-up to the election, bringing you the stries behind the names and the issues they think are most important for Birmingham.
For the Birmingham Board of Education, three candidates are running for two open spots: challenger Mary Blake and incumbents Geri Rinschler and Michael Fenberg.
The Board of Education oversees and sets school board policy, hires and works in partnership with the district superintendent, and oversees the district's budget. Board members are elected to four-year terms
Family: Fenberg is married to Robin and together they have three children, the youngest of which is a sophomore at Seaholm High School. The Fenbergs also have four grandchildren.
Education: Fenberg graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in business administration and accounting.
Occupation: Fenberg is a CPA and partner at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause.
Previous elected experience/experience with the schools: Fenberg was first elected to the school board in 2004. Before that, he served as a committee member for the district's strategic planning update in 1999 and was the co-chair on the ways and means committee at the Quarton Elementary PTSA.
Why are you running?
Fenberg said the reason's he's running for another term goes back to a quote the newly-hired district superintendent, Daniel Nerad, said on the first day of school.
"When Dr. Nerad spoke to the teachers on the first day of school, he said we do this for the passion for public education," Fenberg said, noting it is his passion that keeps him going.
Fenberg said the current school board works together very well, and he wants to continue being a part of that.
"We're very respectful of each other's opinions," he said. "We can learn a lot from each other. ... We all do it for the good of the kids."
What would you bring to the school board?
Fenberg said his financial background already helps him as a school board member now, and will continue to do so in the future.
Fenberg, who is currently serving a year term as the school board president, helped formed the school board's audit committee.
What issues are important to you?
For Fenberg, it all comes down to the money and how the district will continue to provide adequate funding for each student.
"Lansing needs to assure us of a stable and predictable funding source," Fenberg said. "Students deserve it. Teachers deserve it."
Fenberg noted that Birmingham Public Schools have made $28 million in cuts since 2002, and since then, Fenberg said the school board has worked hard to ensure cuts don't reach the classroom and the district's fund equity — its rainy day fund — is preserved.
"We're preparing our children for this uncertain future," Fenberg said. "The challenge is trying to provide the funding and the professional development (for teachers)."