Matt Bennett | City Pulse


Candidate Name: Matt Bennett
Age: 44
Candidate for [Elected Position]: Mason Public Schools Board of Education
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1. What motivated you to run for the position you are seeking election to?
I am running for school board because I enjoy being an active member of my community. Yo
currently have children in 7th and 9th grade in Mason Public Schools and I would like to help
make sure that MPS continues its upward climb as one of the best school districts in the state.
2. What is your vision for the public body you want to serve on?
I intend to approach all decisions from an impartial and rational point of view, where facts and
peer-reviewed research matter. I vow to listen to the voices of the teachers, parents, students,
and the community.
3. How does your vision differ from that of your opponents?
The State of Michigan has set up school board elections to be non-partisan, and that is the way
that I intend to approach all decisions. I will not be swayed by people with loud voices and
outsized personalities, from either end of the political spectrum, who like to proclaim their way of
thinking is the only correct way.
4. Funding for schools has been a consistent concern for nearly three decades. proposal 1,
passed in the 90s was supposed to level the playing field in funding assuring that
districts with distressed property values ​​would receive comparable per pupil funding.
That has not been the case. If elected, how will you address the under funding of
schools?

For large-scale Capital Improvements, MPS voters recently passed a bond proposal to help with
much-needed improvements in our schools. We are currently starting Series 3, the final phase
of that bond. In the future, it may be necessary to ask the voters for another bond to continue
updating our schools to meet the needs of a changing educational environment.
Operationally, the MPS needs to function within the confines of their funding, and they have
donate a good job of being fiscally responsible. I intend to continue this trend.
5. Has school choice, which allows students and parents to apply for and attend a different
school district than the one they live in, been a success? Why or why not?
I think school of choice has been both a success and a failure. On one hand, it has provided the
opportunity for parents to remove their children from low-performing schools and put them in
schools that increase their children’s educational opportunities. On the other hand, it has
created a situation where children with disciplinary issues can be moved from district to district
with no consequences, or consistent counseling assistance, for the children.
6. Proposals in Michigan have long sought to use public dollars to pay for private schools
tuition and costs. Do you support vouchers for private schools? Why or why not?
Local boards of education do not have any bearing on this issue and my opinion on this matter is
not relevant to this election.
7. If vouchers are approved, public schools may see a decline in enrollment. how would
you close the funding gap by a reduction in per pupil funding?
If this were to occur, the board of education would need to explore all options for closing the
funding gap. This could include both cost saving measures and asking the MPS voters for
additional funding.
8. Educators have been under scrutiny over LGBT youth support, LGBT history, the
American history of communities of color and more. In addition, school libraries are
pulling books off of shelves in public school libraries and public libraries.
a. Please share your perspective as you pertains to providing safe schools and
education for LGBT youth.

I believe that ALL kids should feel safe at school. I think we absolutely need to support those
kids that identify as LGBTQ+, and do what we can to make them feel that school is a safe place
for them to be themselves.

b. Please share your perspective about integrating the history of communities of
color into curricula in the public schools.

The United States, and the world, are very diverse places. In order for MPS students to be good
citizens it’s vitally important to understand the history of communities of color, and not just the
history of Europe and North America post colonization.

c. Do you support the removal of books some find objectionable from public school
shelves and public libraries? Why or why not?
School libraries should be filled with books that are age appropriate for the student body
it serves.
Public libraries are outside of the purview of local school boards of education and my
opinion on this matter is not relevant to this election.
9. There has been a split on how COVID was responded to by schools, and other
government bodies. Please answer the following questions:
a. Did you support the shut down of schools during the COVID-19 crisis? why or
why not?

I supported the schools following the advice of the Director of the Ingham County Health
Department. The Board of Education members are not health professionals, and as such, they
were correct in following the advice of the top health official in the county.

b. There has been a marked loss of educational gain as a result of the shut down.
How will you address this problem?

MPS will need to provide assistance to those students who have fallen behind their peers due to
the educational loss as a result of the shutdown.

c. Did you support face masks? Why or why not?

I supported the schools following the advice of the Director of the Ingham County Health
Department. The Board of Education members are not health professionals, and as such, they
were correct in following the advice of the top health official in the county.
d. Do you support the COVID-19 vaccine? Why or why not?

Local boards of education do not have any bearing on this issue and my opinion on this matter is
not relevant to this election.

and. Do you support vaccination for all students in public schools? Why or why not?
Schools should follow the advice of the Director of the Ingham County Health Department. the
Board of Education members are not health professionals, and as such, they should not be
making health decisions and must follow the advice of the top health official in the county.

F. There has been a growing mental health crisis among our youth. It was present
before the pandemic, but experts warn it has gotten worse since the pandemic. If
elected, how will you address the mental health needs of our students?
The mental health of our students is of extreme importance and their needs must be addressed.
I am in favor of expanding counseling, and access to other mental health professionals,
throughout the schools.
10. There have been a number of school shootings, with deeply tragic consequences for
students, teachers and administrators alike – as well as communities. If elected, what
will you do to address the school violence crisis, including school shootings?
We need to ensure that our schools are as safe as possible. I am in favor of partnering with both
the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Mason Police Department to perform regular safety
assessments of all our schools. Further, I would like to work with both of these agencies to
ensure that MPS is always using best-practice approaches for safety and active shooter
scenarios.
11. Elections have become a serious concern for some voters. Please answer the following
questions:
a. If you lose your election, will you accept the results? Why or why not?

The elections conducted in the US are among the most fair and secure in the world. If a certified
election indicates that I lost, I would accept the results.

b. If your election is close and you chose to pay for a recount, you will accept the
result of a count? Why or why not?
Yes, I would accept the result of a certified recount.

c. Much has been made about the 2020 election. Do you believe Donald Trump
won the election? Why or why not?

The elections conducted in the US are among the most fair and secure in the world. donald
Trump did not win the election.

d. Do you believe there was widespread election fraud? Why or why not?

As many court cases have shown, there was no widespread fraud.

and. Do you believe leaders in Washington are involved in a secret pedophilia ring?
Why or why not?
This is a ridiculous idea, of course not.

F. Do you believe the Jan. 6 Capitol incident was appropriate in light of the election?
Why or why not?
This was a highly inappropriate act.
12. Are you a member, or have you ever been a member or donated to any of the following
organizations:
The State of Michigan has set up school board elections to be non-partisan, and that is the way
that I intend to approach all decisions. I will not comment in regards to any specific political
party, however, I will affirm that I have not been a member or donated to any of the non-political
parties listed.

a. socialist party
b. rock the vote
c. Democratic Party
d. Any Democratic Candidate for Office
and. The Republican Party
F. Any Republican Candidate for Office
g. The American Taxpayers Party
h. Any American Taxpayer Party Candidate for Office
Yo. The Heritage Foundation
J. People for the American Way
k. III Percenters
l. Proud Boys
13. Please share with readers and voters your qualifications for the position you seek.
Over sixteen years ago my wife and I specifically chose to build a home within the Mason
School District after much research, as this was the place we wanted our children to learn and
grow. My wife is a graduate of Mason and our children are currently enrolled in 7th and 9th
grades here. Both kids are heavily involved in Mason community activities such as the Mason
High School Marching Band, Mason Soccer Club, Mason Baseball and Softball Club, FFA, and
4-H.
Immediately after moving to the area I began seeking ways to give back and be more than just a
resident of my community. In addition to my full time job, I attended classes and became an
on-call Firefighter and EMT for the Delhi Township Fire Department (serving both Delhi &
Alaiedon townships) for 13 years, where I also earned Fire Officer, Incident Commander, and
Federal Emergency Management certifications. I have served on the Ingham County Parks
Commission for 10 years (the last 4 as Chairperson), spent 4 seasons coaching Mason youth
soccer teams, referee youth soccer matches, and actively support the Mason FFA through the
Mason FFA Friends & Alumni Association, just to name a few.
Educationally, I have a Bachelor’s Degree from MSU where I double-majored in Zoology and
Botany, and a Master’s Degree in Plant Biology from MSU where I studied genetics/genomics.

I intend to approach all decisions from an impartial and rational point of view, where facts and
peer-reviewed research matter. I vow to listen to the voices of the teachers, parents, students,
and the community. I am running for the Mason School Board because I want to ensure that
Mason Public Schools continues its upward climb as one of the best school districts in the state.

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