Richard Joseph challenges Bo Boss for in seat on Charlevoix school board
Two men with a long history of involvement with the Charlevoix Public Schools will square off for a seat on the school district's board of education in the Nov. 8 General Election. Incumbent Bo Boss (left) and challenger Richard Joseph.
Incumbent Bo Boss, 55, has served on the school board since 2007 and is currently the board's vice president. Boss is a Charlevoix High School graduate, and lifelong Charlevoix resident whose family ties to the area go back four generations. He is a master craftsman and owner of Bo Boss & Son Construction and has been a state licensed builder since 1978. Boss has also served as the general manager of the city's Mount McSauba Recreation Area since 1976. He has also managed various family owned businesses 1973 to present.
Boss has been married to wife Debbie (also a Charlevoix High School graduate) for 31 years. Together they have a son, Beau, who is working on a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan State University and a daughter, Sherry, who is working on a architectural and interior design degree from Northwestern Michigan College.
Besides serving on the school board, Boss' involvement in the community has been extensive.
He is currently the vice-president of Keep Charlevoix Beautiful -- the organization which oversee the community's annual Operation Petunia. He has been involved with the organization since 1980 and previously served as its president.
Boss has also served as the chairman of the Charlevoix Sno Challenge at Mount McSauba for more than 20 years. Besides having two children who were students in the district, Boss' involvement at the schools includes many years of bringing a mobile tool shop to school, for on-site demonstrations of "Tool School" at the elementary school. He also brings his mobile tool shop to the high school and to assist with homecoming float building. He has also donated time for many years to provide a free day of skiing, sledding and skating for all Charlevoix middle school students at Mount McSauba.
"I have decided to run for re-election for the following reasons: Let's forget about the financial difficulties that we are facing at this time and talk about the positives. Our superintendent Chet Janik, who came to Charlevoix at the same time I joined the board, has done a terrific job throughout these challenging times. His tireless effort in presenting to the community the need for passing our current bond (for school improvements) has put Charlevoix schools on top in every category. Currently all three schools have received "A" report cards from the state. Our high school just received a rating of 85 -- the highest score of all public schools north of Clare to the Mackinac Bridge. Every student has access to cutting-edge technology with "Smart Boards" in every classroom, (with just arriving interactive response clickers) fiber optic-wired buildings, mobile laptop carts and new desktops. The downsized teaching and support staff has been really pulling together to take up the slack. I really feel that we have the best staff and administrative team in the north. Along with the technology improvements we were able to purchase two new busses and plan to replace two more in the near future. All of the school buildings were able to go green with upgrades to lighting and heating controls, new efficient boilers, windows and insulation. The current savings in energy cost to the district is about $100,000 per year. The Ironton School has been re-opened and through a partnership with the ISD it will become a much needed alternative studies school. A new partnership has been formed with the Montessori school and it is already very successful.
"The current members of the board are what really inspire me to serve. John Mclean is our president and totally devotes himself to keep us all informed and up to date. I have filled in for him several times and found out real quick the time it takes to do the job right. Valerie Snyder, brings her legal expertise (always much appreciated) and the quick wit she has to ease the tension when needed. Kevin Pearsall brings his common sense approach along with the talent it takes in him being a successful local business man. He is never afraid to ask the right questions. The days of the 'good old boys' are gone. Mike Pearsall brings his expertise as an expert on maintenance for our buildings and grounds. His suggestions have saved the district thousands of tax dollars. Glen Catt is a very successful business man and has brought a whole new perspective to the board. Glen and Kevin worked tirelessly to complete the new contracts between the teachers and support staff. Great work during these challenging times. Nancy Allison brings her experience from 35 years of book keeping at North Central Michigan College and is now chairing our budget committee. She knows how to say 'we can't afford that.'
It is so important to have trust between all board members and that everyone is always equally informed. I really respect the leadership of Chet and appreciate his weekly updates. The board is made up of seven individual votes and a board member must respect the vote of the majority. Win or lose a decision, a good board member must compromise and move on. I am very proud to work with this current board and its good chemistry."
"The biggest challenges facing public education is declining enrollment and loss in revenue. At Charlevoix, I think we are turning the corner as we have already drastically trimmed our overhead and expenses. We have in place new affordable employee contracts. Our enrollment decline is actually starting to show signs of stabilizing. We are currently working on marketing what a great school system we have. It is time for us to look out for Charlevoix Public Schools' future at the local level, as looking to Lansing is not the answer. The current board is dedicated to maintain all core academic classes and keep class sizes small. It is very important to keep as many tax dollars in the classroom as possible. We are in the education business, and it is our goal to give every child the best education that we can."
I feel that I am a good candidate for the board. Charlevoix, and the school system has blessed my family and me. I feel this is a small sacrifice to pay for the great education my children received. I will fight for every child to get a great education, and to those who slip up, I will be there to give you a second chance. Pay it forward."
Challenger Richard Joseph, 54, is married and the father of two daughters. Alyssia graduated last year and is currently attending college and Savannah is a senior at Charlevoix High School this year.
He grew up in Grayling where his family has lived since 1835. After graduating from high school he earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the Detroit College of Law.
After graduating from law school, Joseph practiced in the Detroit area for two years when an opportunity to be an associate at a Charlevoix firm arose in 1988, fulfilling his goal to move back north.
After moving to Charlevoix, Joseph became active in the community through the Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce, serving on its board for six years, and as its president for three of those years. In the early 1990s he initiated the "Ambassador" arm of the Chamber and was the recipient of the Chamber's first "Ambassador of the Year Award."
Joseph also served on the board of the Charlevoix County Community Foundation for six years. In that time he established two funds designed primarily to support education.
Joseph has not held public office before, but he was directly involved with two notable elections involving the Charlevoix Public Schools. He served as the chairman of the committee to raise the millage for the construction of the current high school, and as the co-chairman of the committee opposed to the recall of the majority of the school board around the same time.