Michigan story illustrates challenges of leadership in small school districts
Submitted by Howard Owens on June 5, 2009 - 1:56pm
The story of Geoffrey Balkam dying has nothing to do with Genesee County. Or maybe it has much to do with Genesee County.
Reading the story I thought about the little dust up we had earlier in the week about a Pavilion superintendent earning a rather sizable paycheck. Residents from Pavilion defended the salary, saying Ed Orman has done a great job for many years.
The Climax-Scotts school district in Michigan is now wondering what it's going to do with out Balkam, who has led the school district through some tough times, including recent economic constraints.
The untimely death of Superintendent Geoffrey Balkam not only is a personal tragedy for Climax-Scotts Community Schools, but could hasten the demise of a small, rural district already struggling to survive.
"The fear is real. There's no denying it," said Climax-Scotts athletic director Kevin Langs, who delivered the eulogy at Balkam's memorial service Tuesday.
"I don't know what the future holds. I don't," Langs said. "I believe, and Geoff felt the same way, that there is a niche in today's world for small, rural public schools. But just because I believe that doesn't mean it will happen."
The story kind of illustrates the idea that the complexity of running a school district is not necessarily tied to the number of students in the district. Small, rural districts have their own unique challenges.