Michael Bunitsky On Public Service And Other Things
When I learned Michael Bunitsky wasn’t going to run for another term on the Board of Education I asked him if he would tell me why. Mr. Bunitsky and I have disagreed on many, many things but his response below will illustrate why I have the utmost respect for him as a human being.
Everyone should heed and adopt the beliefs he shares in his third paragraph.
His response to me is reproduced with his permission in its entirety. May he and his wife enjoy a fabulous and adventurous retirement – with skiing.
Hello Ms. Rose,
I hope thing are well with you and your family.
Though I’m not sure why my reasons for not running again would be of any interest to anyone, I’m happy to tell you.
As a history and government teacher of forty plus years I firmly believe in term limits. The concept of government service is just that, service. It is incumbent on individuals to use the skills they acquire in life to give back to the community that nurtured them. Elected office is not a job; it is community service or should be. New and different perspectives, younger or older individuals, various ethnicities, religions, genders, etc., all need opportunities to serve in our various elected offices. That can only happen when people do their best, serve their term and move on. That is my opinion and I know others do not share it.
My term has been extremely fulfilling. I have loved every minute of it, recognizing that some issues were controversial, but that is the challenge when accepting public office. Having served so long in the school system governed by multiple superintendents and myriad Board members, and having worked in the system as it grew from about 30,000 to over 40,000 students, I wanted to be a part of the decision-making. I count among my most cherished accomplishments participating in the decision that resulted in completing the salary scale change for all three of our bargaining units; supporting budget increases that have still not achieved the level of wealth in our county or closed the achievement gap; passing policy on welcoming and affirming; educational equity; getting Advanced Placement teachers a stipend for reading ETS exams; initiating the creation of a Board committee addressing race; collecting $2.5 million of $3 million for electric and propane buses, beginning the compositing initiative, participating in redistricting for multiple schools, and more day-to-day decisions that help students and the community.
I have had encouragement to run again, and not just from friends and family where you expect it. Community members, colleagues, educators, people that I respect have said they would like me to run again. I never intended to serve more than one term and told those who asked me at the time.
I have other things I want to do in life and potentially a short time to do them. American male life expectancy is currently 78 years. I’ll be sixty-nine years old when my term expires. There are a great many things my wife and I would like to do through our seventies. God willing our health remains for at least one more decade to be able to enjoy the activities we love. Though gardening, travel and fishing aren’t too physically taxing, I’ve not seen many eighty-year old people ski.
I assume this is what you are asking for in your email. Or maybe more than you were asking for.