October 14, 2020

Onur Arugaslan

Pronouns: he/him
School District:Mattawan Consolidated Schools
City: Mattawan

How long have you lived in your district?

Four years

Have you received any endorsements?

Board colleagues (current & former), teachers, community members

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want each and every kid to realize their full potential.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

Education justice means equal opportunities for children with different backgrounds and needs. In my district, we have programs for students from low-income households as well as those with special needs.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

There should be more emphasis on online education.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

Board and administration should hear from all stakeholders and be transparent in their decision-making.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

Myself.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

Student wellness – Quality education – Community engagement

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

Increase teacher compensation – Invest in student mental health – Increase high school graduation rates

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

Students will miss out on social interactions. Teachers will be concerned about their health. My district needs to implement policies and procedures that make sure that the students and staff feel safe. These include but are not limited to partitions on desks, all-online option for students, and the ability to teach from home for teachers with medical concerns.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

Diversity and inclusion initiatives, teacher pay, anti-epidemic investment, and online infrastructure should be top priorities.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

Standardized tests increase stress and anxiety among students.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

I would make financial literacy a required class at the high school level. I would keep the amount of AP courses we offer along with the ability to take courses from local community college and university.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

We should be checking on every student and staff member periodically and make sure that their mental/emotional needs are met by their families/insurance.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

We should employ positive enforcement.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

COVID has been a challenge but also offered opportunities to improve special education especially when it comes to equal access.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

Emphasize diversity and inclusion, special education, free/reduced breakfast/lunch programs, teacher compensation comparable with neighboring districts, vocational training, college readiness

Any other information you want to include or share?

Education and community service are some of my biggest passions. Having served on the Mattawan School Board since March 2019, I am overjoyed to be able to give back to the community in this way. As a Board Trustee, I have taken part in many decisions including the hiring of the new Superintendent, the new contract with the teacher’s union, and various construction projects. As a college professor, I have been able to contribute to the Board with a higher education perspective. Before he held this position, he served on the boards of Kalamazoo Country Day School and Crescendo Academy of Music. I was also the treasurer of the latter and oversaw the doubling of the budget in six years. As I run for election this November, I have three priorities: student wellness, making sure that students feel safe and welcome at school; quality education, preparing students for future careers while delivering exceptional education; and community engagement, involving parents by keeping transparency and communication always at the top of the agenda.