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Posted on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

Holden, Zimmer win Saline School Board seats; incumbent Friese unseated

By Lisa Allmendinger

Saline School District voters chose running mates David Holden and David Zimmer as the two new faces on the Board of Education and unseated incumbent David Friese.

Holden was the top vote-getter with 1,748 votes or 26.70 percent of the vote, while Zimmer received 1,663 or 25.40 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Patti Tanner finished third with 1,634 votes or 24.96 percent and Friese, the incumbent, was fourth with 1,488 votes or 22.73 percent.

David Medley, the current vice president of the board, chose not to seek re-election.

Holden, 54, is a manager for strategic accounts automotive market - Air Liquide - and ran on a platform of “financial stability,” stating that the structural deficit must be resolved and the district's trend of spending more than is taken in should be reversed.

He said all three collective bargaining agreements expire in 2012 and the new agreements “need to reflect the current economic environment and contain flexibility with future cost certainty.”

He and Zimmer campaigned to reduce class sizes and to restructure the collective bargaining agreement with the SEA. “We will have the ability to create a stable financial environment and a portion of the cost restructuring will be used to hire additional teachers. Yes, we can reduce costs and hire additional teachers at the same time resulting in reduced class sizes.”

Zimmer, 55, is a consultant for Principal Human Capital with 20 years of experience in senior management and executive level roles with a focus on turnarounds and rapidly expanding businesses.

His top issue was financial stability. “We must reset the financial model of the district. We must address the structural deficits that have been part of our operating plan since 2003. “

He, too, campaigned to address the district’s structural deficit, while reducing class size, while ensuring that teachers have the resources to do their jobs in the classroom.

To reduce class sizes, he said, “We need the engagement of the community, our teachers and staff, our students, our administration, and our school board.”

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at For more Saline stories, visit our Saline page.



Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

Nice cut and paste from the candidate profiles Lisa. We expect better.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

Wow...I am truly surprised by the number of mis informed voters in the Saline district! Speaking as someone that knows the true salary that a Saline teacher receives, let me tell you, they don't make what you think...nor do they get free insurance, nor do they get a free retirement plan as Mr. John Doe wants you to think. I know first hand what comes out of their pay for insurance, how much goes into retirement and how many hours they put in during an average day. Between emails, phone calls, and parent meetings some days don't ever seem to end. Money is spent from their own pockets to buy supplies because the district has cut back, copies are made on their own dime because it's gotten to expensive to print, the list goes on and on. Yet, they don't complain because it's what they need to do for their students. Please Mr. Doe, if you're going to speak about something, please get the facts straight. It is obvious to me that you are speaking on something you have no idea about. Teachers have bills and families to take care of well as all of the student loans to re pay for the years of continuing education that never end. The other part that doesn't make sense is that teachers help form our youth and shape our kids into the adults they will become but yet people think they are over paid?! You get what you pay for...keep that in mind. Nobody was complaining when the economy was people are on a witch hunt for anyone that makes more that what unemployment pays. Funny how society worships athletes and pop stars and envy their financial status and are willing to pay out millions for them, but a person that spends their life helping teach children are penalized for going to school and earning a degree to do so.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 2:31 a.m.

1. Buying school supplies for your students is not going to break your bank (unless you have a spending problem) 2. To %100 pay for your own insurance, retirement and whatever else is more than doable making 50k a year especially if you are married 3a. The influence from a teacher I received in high school were passively or aggressively framed lessons with political undertone. 3b. My parents, peers, and values were my influences when i was growing up not a teacher 4. I respect someone who works hard and gives extra effort! Especially teachers! Not anti teacher by any means nor do I am typically one of your biggest proponants. But I don't feel sorry for a teacher who has got to deal with parents after 3:30pm (it's a part of being a teacher) 5. I am by no means on a witch hunt to get back at teachers. I just find it ridiculous that the teachers union can have issue with the steps needed to ensure our kids have the same opportunity we were afforded 6. If the money is so tight then why don't you guys work in the summer? You could work at Burger King in the summer and have all kinds of money to pay for these supplies you cannot afford for your students. Or maybe you are above that? 7. Athletes and pop stars are paid the money they are because they are the best in the world at whatever it is that they do. If you were one of the top teachers in the world you would be making more money than you know what to do with as well. 8. You cannot sit here and tell me that you went to grad school so that you could learn how to teach better. You did it because that Masters added to your value which in turn added to your check. My issue comes when the actual $ value of a teacher falls below what a teacher is being paid. Your value is capped by the amount of money the district has got to spend. That's the downside to being paid collectively. Either you all get what you want now and the district suffers or you get paid your actual value as a whole and the district prospers

Red Raider

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 1:57 a.m.

Please do enlighten us. Is the information on this website wrong?: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> If it isn't, from that list, I see teachers who teach art/music/gym at the grade schools (Harvest, Pleasant Ridge and Woodland Meadows) who earned more than I've ever earned as an engineer with two degrees from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor with over 15 years of work experience.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

The fact of the matter is that schools and government systems do not have the monies necessary to run as they had in the past. This has nothing to do with the schools or how they are run, but it has to do with the simple fact that there is less tax dollar coming in as a result of the economic downturn. Schools, teachers, students, and families did not create this downturn. Banks, mortgage brokers, and wall street did. School teachers, schools, and ultimately students, their families, and their futures are being shortchanged in this state in the favor of giving big business tax breaks. The worst part is that voters do no seem to care. Seems to me like the voters in Saline care more about a few dollars in their own pockets rather than the future of the children that live in their community. If you want a future of innovators that can propel the US back onto the top economically you had better invest in that future with a class A education now. Taking students', teachers', and schools' money and support will only help in creating an army of drones ready to go to jail or vote or work for their corporate overlords. I can obviously see where the the sentiment of the people of Saline lies. But then again, it's only the future and you'll all be gone in the future so who cares? Might as well apply for a toxic waste dump, coal-fired power plant, and a chemical refinery, they won't really affect me, only the future. I could probably make some money off of them now, and then I could finally be happy with all of my money. Oh wait, that would be the Saline voters who voted these people(if you want to call them that) onto the school board.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

I can see the pity party started early this morning, exactly at 12:05 a.m. The post by dm61 is the official &quot;kickoff&quot; by the unionists to go after and try and discredit Holden and Zimmer. Do realize Dave and Dave that those that voted for you are going to come out of the wood work and once again start attending school board meetings and getting involved/engaged as you have requested. Previously, it made no sense to attend meetings because the board was bought and paid for by the MEA and the board simply turned a deaf ear to any parents that they disagreed with. This school districts accountants and financial folks were clueless to the finances of this district. They did not take into account changing actuarials for pension costs, they did not take into account the true loss of students, the ever increasing costs of healthcare etc. It was simply mistake after mistake after mistake and we finally got tired of the gross negligence. The single biggest game changer for me was the ever increasing class sizes due to the teachers unwillingness to take reasonable cuts to their cadillac benefit packages. This truly showed that despite all the teachers say about caring for the kids, to me it meant they cared more about themselves and much less about the kids. I guess actions speak louder than words. It might be cloudy in Saline today but the sun is shining brightly for the future financial health of our schools . Good Day


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 11:21 a.m.

Funny how many of the comments on this post seem to forget that teachers in Saline VOLUNTEERED to help the district in tough financial times, and took 5 days without pay this year as well as paying 10% of their health insurance (teachers were not required to open their contracts). As to the whole '3 months off' thing, I don't know how the end of June to mid-August (when most teachers are setting up their rooms) adds up as 3 months off. You may be thinking but wait, what about the time off at Christmas too!? Well, many jobs in the private sector get time off at the holidays, and vacation days during the school year, so you still don't add up to 3 months over the private sector. Students in Saline get a world class education, teachers in Saline work very hard. If you keep telling them that they are not worth the money you are going to lose many of Saline's stronger teachers (yes teachers do have bills to pay and many have high student loan payments due to the required continuing education teachers have to have to renew certifications). As for the comments about all those college students wandering around waiting to snatch up Saline teaching jobs, yes you are probably right, however do you really think they are going to be able to do as well as the more experienced teachers? Spend a week in a classroom before you judge.

Christopher Simon

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

i have spent four years in those classrooms and the simple fact of the matter is, many (not all) of the teachers do not earn the salary and benefits they are given. btw most private sector jobs do not get two weeks off at Christmas (not to mention spring break and president's day weekend)


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:10 p.m.

I've got some smelling salts I can give you ! Please read JOHN DOE's post above, and re-read if necessary. Go Green Go White

Happy Puppy

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 11:16 a.m.

This was not a landslide, the voters haven't spoken. In fact it was extremely close between Tanner and Zimmer. I think the people of Saline will rue the day they voted for these two. They aren't going to be able to slam their slash and burn program through, so the district will become gridlocked on even the smallest issue. BTW - Slawson openly supported these two. And now school board meetings will last three hours as you now have three people who love to hear the sound of their own voice.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

The fact that it was even close between Tanner and Zimmer is evidence that the entrenched interests were out in force yesterday. Compare the demonstration of knowledge on Zimmer's part, not to mention his resume, with that of Tanner and there is no way she should even have been close. Basically, until the last couple of days, the central tenet of Tanner's campaign was &quot;I will consider all viewpoints before I render any decision.&quot; That's not a platform, it's a platitude. In the last couple of days, she steered hard left toward the unions, and so, the teachers and their support network voted for her. The lefties go into the election with votes in the bank due to the union kool-aid factor. Holden and Zimmer worked hard for every vote, running a diligent, exemplary campaign. Yes, the voter's DID speak.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

I am giving serious consideration to running next time so these two fine gentleman will have a majority. And BTW HAPPY PUPPY, we are all slobbering over ourselves over this victory. Me is &quot;happy puppy&quot;, you is &quot;sad puppy&quot; ! Lisa came to her senses and did the right thing by supporting Holden and Zimmer. Go Green Go White


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:46 a.m.

The people who went out and voted today did the right thing by electing Mr. Holden and Mr. Zimmer into the school board. For the residents of saline to keep paying the hidden and unhidden wages to these teachers just would never work. I cannot name one private sector company who has hemorrhaged money for decades, in which company employees get paid 6 figure salaries, pay no health insurance (but receive a $16k annual coverage plan), pay nothing into retirement (yet are paid handsomely upon retirement) then to top it all off they get $5k in annuities annually with annual pay increased to boot. For a system that is funded by tax dollars alone in one way or another, the overhead just becomes far too high to sustain an entire school district. Especially one that will not be seeing an influx of property owners within the district any time soon. If the Union has any issue with accepting contract restructuring this year then shame on them. That will shine some light on if they are in it for the kids/community or not. Many of the teachers could easily take $5k salary loss or at least pay some of their insurance. When the district gets it financial cards back in order and can begin to work within a level of financial comfort then lets talk about paying teachers more. Better yet how about the contract negotions have to be approved by the public via a vote. Let's remember who pays these salaries. I don't even see the ethical grounds of being able to collectively bargain, and strike when you are being paid TAX MONEY. A very large number of the district teacher's do not even live within saline because what we pay in taxes here is so high. I am not complaining about what I pay to live here i love Saline, but I'm just saying.... If the teachers want to quit then bring in some of those kids just getting out of college who can't get a teaching job because no district can afford to hire. Then we have 2-3 teachers added for every teacher lost. On terms we can afford.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 1:35 a.m.

Last time i checked all of these kids who decide on athletics have to pay $$$ to play. Now we have stooped so low that we have an &quot;ATHLETE TAX&quot; to remedy money issues which wouldn't be their if the previous school board had any kind of backbone when it came to doing the right thing. I am willing to bet that saline annually has more kids make it to college with athletic scholarship aid (or scholarship money because t than get scholarships for academic prestige if we exclude (MEAP $$). BUT.. These coaches are still being paid to coach though.. While the kids have to pay to be coached? Last time i checked Saline's, Track, Cross Country, and Golf Programs were the only programs with any coaches who could market themselves as clinicians who an outsider may seek for paid help to learn an athletic trade, based on track record / performance. And I am willing to bet that the coaches in those sports at saline would happily coach for no pay. Until the district stops' avoiding and dodging the teachers union we have got no chance at fixing this money thing. I know i keep coming down on the union but we just have got to see it for what it is. Yes saline has got great teachers... They are not College professors with volumes of published findings and work. So why are they paid like they are tenured professors? @concernedcitizen12.. Your %20 insurance was agreed upon because Holden and Zimmer were unheard of. I am sure this was also agreed upon strategically so that they could bully themselves out of paying that during the collective bargaining after the next contract gets inked. Also, i would like to see what fraction of their overall deductible is the %20 they are paying into. The sad thing is that the big pay cut was when they took 5 days unpaid? Well technically that was an average of $2,000.00 per person. But again that was only done so they can say &quot;hey look what i did" I deserve to be paid better for it now.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

perfectly said JOHN DOE. Go Green Go White


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

Teachers already pay 10% of health care costs, and will pay 20% next year. Teachers also voluntarily gave up 5 days without pay to help the district. Most of the teachers that make 'the big bucks' also run coaching programs, and after school programs. Should they just volunteer all that work for free?


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:12 a.m.

Congratulations, Holden and Zimmer, on this important and significant victory. The message has been clear: Holden and Zimmer will return students, parents, and taxpayers to their proper place, namely at the forefront of the board's consideration, instead of remaining in the shadow of entrenched special interests, namely the unions at the various levels. The unions have had their day over-influencing the education process in Saline, and it has brought us to the brink of insolvency, with class sizes up, surpluses squandered, and everyone casting about for answers that aren't as drastic as the reality staring us in the face. Now, we have a chance to find some real answers to our pressing problems. A new day is dawning in Saline, thanks to Holden and Zimmer!


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 5:05 a.m.

It's truly disappointing that the voters in the school district voted the way they did tonight. In the long run, Mr. Holden and Mr. Zimmer will do much more harm than good for SAS. When they say that they wish to restructure the collective bargaining agreement with the SEA, they really are saying that they are out for the blood of some of the finest educators in this state. Saline is only a top district because of the teachers who in the classroom doing the real legwork. We risk losing some of the best teachers in the state if we force draconian wage a benefit cuts on them. Tonight has made me realize that too many people in Saline feel that a world class education for the next generation is not worth giving up a Starbucks on their way to work in the morning. I sincerely hope that the one remaining moderate and level headed voice on the board (Mrs. Slawson) will fight for what is right, and try to prevent a bloodbath come June; unfortunately any fight which she may put up will be doomed from the start due to the new lopsided makeup of the board. A teacher of mine once told me a quote by Lee Iacocca: &quot;In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.&quot; Unfortunately our society is anything but rational, because too many of us treat teachers as second class citizens, and instead of thanking them for doing the grueling job they do, we punish them by stripping away their livelihoods.

Christopher Simon

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 5:06 a.m.

Brian, you're getting me all wrong here. I'm a huge supporter of education. In fact, I think more of our state budget needs to be diverted towards education. My only problem lies within the allocation of our money. Instead of giving it all to teachers just because of their degree and tenure, let's give it to teachers because of their passion and enthusiasm. Also, I don't have any feelings of contempt for any of my former instructors, I actually liked most of them. The thing I didn't like was the seventy-year old teacher using the same lesson plan she used in the 1970s. By the way, I'm a freshman at UofM due to the hard work of SOME teachers.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 2:51 a.m.

Sounds like a disgruntled former student who just graduated doesn't like some of his former teachers, or didn't think he got a fair deal at school. How about he takes it out on the future of Saline's students education. Let's throw a tea party while we're at it.

Christopher Simon

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 10:48 p.m.

1) Your 5am to 5pm argument is laughable. Walk through the halls of Saline High School at 4:30 and you will find mostly the custodial staff. It is in my generous estimation (I am a 2011 grad) that most teachers work from 7:30 to 3:30, and with their seventy minutes of planning time (not to mention hours of time accumulated by letting movies teach for them) little work is done outside of class. 2) Perhaps I was a bit brash, but I did not say that all teachers were lazy. In fact, many of the teachers in the district are far from it. I was simply arguing the point that little is done to reward teachers for their hard work. Simply occupying a position should not be the basis for promotion. 3) That being said, would you like me to name some lazy teachers earning over 80k? Because they certainly exist. 4) Teachers will NOT leave Saline because of a cut in salary. Saline is a safe environment where people want to raise their children; that will always be the case. Also, Michigan still ranks third in the country in median teacher salary, so it is unlikely teachers will venture out of state. However, student WILL leave if programs are cut because the union was unwilling to negotiate. These are tough times for public schools, if the teachers truly are &quot;not in it for the money or the benefits&quot; they will be willing to bear the brunt of the cuts along with their students, something I thing Dave Holden and Dave Zimmer advocate.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.

Get ready for teachers to leave the district and state. Especially all those in Saline who work hard, getting up at 5 and getting home at 5. Any of you would be lost trying to teach even one period of classes. And Christopher Simon, which of the teachers in Saline are part of the &quot;good deal of them are lazy and overpaid?&quot; You know of a good deal of teachers that are lazy and overpaid? What are you qualifications for lazy? What about overpaid? Sounds like you need some smelling salts. Work for a week in a classroom and tell me who is the lazy one. You would never do that, and if you did try you wouldn't make it one week anyway. People don't get into teaching for the money and benefits, that's called business school, bankers, traders, etc. In addition in order to reach that high of pay it takes years of dedication on the job as well as years upon years of additional schooling which almost no other professionals go through, more years of school that Doctors, Lawyers, and Phd's in general.

Christopher Simon

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

Yes there are some great teachers in Saline, but a good deal of them are lazy and overpaid. The educators that truly care won't let a cut in salary prevent them from teaching. Being a Saline teacher is a great job in a wonderful environment. Take a look at the 2010 salaries and tell me if you think an EMU grad should be making this much while working 7 hour days with 3 months of vacation? If you ask me we are paying teachers too much for their tenure and not enough for the quality of their work. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

dm61, so you are basically calling voters &quot; ignorant and mean spirited&quot; for voting in Holden and Zimmer, I say you are misguided and must be a teacher. You also say that asking teachers to pay more for toward their healthcare and pensions is &quot;draconian&quot;, I think you need to look up the meaning of that word for starters. JOHN DOE said it well below. You state we &quot;risk losing some of the best teachers in the sate if we force draconion wage and benefit cuts on them&quot;. I will bet you a million dollars not a single teacher will quit or leave this state. They have no where to go to get this kind of benefits package anywhere else in the USA. Get a clue and hope on the reality train ! Toot Toot ! Go Green Go White


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 8:28 a.m.

@Scylding good catch!!! if you only knew what these teachers were getting paid to teach for 9 months a year you may flip i have a copy of the 2010 salaries and After analyzing how much the teachers are paid I just dont understand how anyone can complain or feel bad for these folks if they have to take a pay-cut or have to pay into their benefits.. Lets keep in mind the we are a little over a million dollars from being controlled by the state.. we had 10 million for a rainy day and we burnt through that quite fast. (keep in mind they get get full healthcare, retirement and annuities at no charge as well) 164 teachers (not principals) in the district make better than $80,000.00 in with the top person makein $105,000.00 (the AVERAGE teaching salary is $72,000.00) for 9 months, with spring winter and fall break plus the rest of the holidays they get off... To teach in SAS for a typical school year (state mandates 180 days) your AVERAGE teacher makes $400.00 a day.. they can cry me a river, How did Holden &amp; Zimmer not win in a land slide? i find it hard to believe that this budget issue is very fixable.. yearly we will dave 5 million if just the teachers buy their own health insurance 1.7 million saved if they stop giving an annuity.. easy fixes..


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 7:05 a.m.

In &quot;Where have all the Leaders gone,&quot; Iacocca also wrote: &quot;We're not getting clobbered by Japan, South Korea, and Singapore in math and science scores because their kids are smart and disciplined and ours are stupid and lazy. They're clobbering us because their parents and their schools demand more of them. In America, our kids attend school 180 days a year. Japanese kids go to school 240 days a year. If we want our kids to catch up, you'd think we'd at least start by sending them to school 240 days a year... The three month summer vacation is a sacred cow. I once wrote a newspaper column calling for the extension of the school year. I got bombarded for THAT lousy idea--mostly from teachers&quot; (p. 216). Oops, don't suppose you endorse that Iacocca quote so much, dm61. I don't suppose the NEA and all the other teacher organizations that run around making the &quot;rational society&quot; reference want this quote to gain much traction, given that it would mean 60 more days of work for the same pay?


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 6:40 a.m.

Quote of Iacocca Straight from the NEA webpage: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> (scroll down to the second to last quote on the page).