Making Democracy Work

LWVGTA Positions

Library Position

Approved 2015
Proposed Public Library Position The League of Women Voters Grand Traverse Area believes that public libraries are of central importance to our community. Therefore, it supports full service library systems that:
A. Are responsive to the needs of the community, relying on significant staff and community involvement in strategic planning, capital projects, collection selection, technological resources and space requirements.
B. Maintain an ongoing commitment to attracting and retaining quality staff.
C. Communicate and cooperate with schools, community institutions,. Make available Interlibrary loan services.
D. Incorporate new developments and technologies to provide the best possible service to patrons.
E. Disseminate information by.:
1. collecting/circulating materials in a variety of formats including audio, visual, and electronic;
2 . presenting programs and materials which will stimulate the interest of non-library users;
3. offering programs and services to answer the specific needs of groups such as people with disabilities, seniors, preschoolers, and students;
4. allowing freedom from censorship.
F. Maintain hours and space in a safe environment to sufficiently meet the needs of the communities they serve.
G. Select library boards of trustees in a manner that allows for community input and involvement, in an open and transparent process that makes trustees accountable to their constituents.
H. Maintain and make available, online and in print, any governance records that are of interest to the public. These records should include notices of board meetings; meeting agendas; meeting minutes; current and past budgets; operating policies; overviews of major project plans; and names, terms and qualifications of current trustees.
I. Operate on a sound fiscal plan. The primary support for existing public libraries comes from the local level with additional county, state and federal support. User fees may be assessed for non-residents.. To assist communities in establishing libraries, aid should be made available for initial investment from county, state, and/or federal levels.

Education Position

Revised June 2011
The League of Women Voters of Grand Traverse Area supports that every child attending the schools that comprise the Traverse Bay Intermediate School District will acquire 21st century knowledge and skills that they will need in their communities and workplaces.
A. Curriculums will include the core subjects as outlined in the Michigan Merit Curriculum, K-12. B. Curriculums in the 21st century must include:
Global Awareness, Civic Literacy, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving Skills, and Life Skills such as: Leadership. Ethics, Personal and Social Responsibility, Self Direction, and People Skills.
C. Curriculums should support students being able to understand, utilize and evaluate current technologies and sources of information.
D. Curriculums should include awareness of the contributions and rights of women and minorities.
E. Curriculums should encourage all students to be educated to the best of their abilities.
II. Assessment
A. A student assessment program must have a balance of high quality standardized tests along with effective classroom evaluations and observations that inform instruction. The scope of assessment should include the skill level in core subjects, the demonstrated use of critical thinking and life skills, facility with technology for research, and the ability to communicate ideas and information.
III. Administrative and District Leadership
A. Administrators must articulate clearly the goals to be attained; serve as problem solving models; and demonstrate their ability to provide necessary equipment and training for successful teaching and learning; and seek regular input from students, staff, and citizens.
IV. School Climate
A. The school facility should be inviting, orderly, healthy, safe, secure, clean, well-maintained and equipped with adequate resources and
B. The school climate should provide a caring, encouraging environment; promote a sense of belonging and self-esteem; strive for effective communication, collaboration, and interpersonal relation ships between staff and students; and foster mutual cooperation and safety. The school should respect and value individual differences, encourage critical thing and have high expectations for all.
V. Teachers
A. Teachers will be given class assignments for which they are highly qualified.
B. Teachers will have adequate time and space to prepare lessons and confer with colleagues on a regular basis. Involvement in professional development should be ongoing.
C. At regular intervals proficiency in teaching practices and content knowledge will be assessed and a written copy of the results provided followed by consultation
D. Teachers will participate in setting and achieving school-wide goals.
VI. School Funding
A. Schools must be funded in a manner that is adequate and equitable to carry out their mission.
B. The school funding inequity between school districts should be actively addressed by the state legislature. The per pupil funding gap between the highest and lowest foundation grants needs to be eliminated by regular "equity payments" in the school funding budget until equitable funding is achieved

County Government Position

Adopted May 1992, Revised May 2000
The League of Women Voters believes that democratic government policies, programs, and performance must meet these criteria:
--Well-defined channels for timely citizen input and review
--Coordination among agencies and levels of government
--Adequate financing
--Competent personnel with clear responsibilities
--Effective enforcement As they apply to Grand Traverse
Area units of county government:
The League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area supports easy citizen access to and review of the process of governing by:
A. Giving adequate and well-publicized notice of meetings and agendas for all committees, boards, and commissions.
1. Notification of meetings and agendas needs to be expanded and an effort made to televise and/or broadcast County Commission meetings to inform interested citizens and arouse interest in others
2. Efficiency may dictate additions or deletions from published agendas. However, this practice makes it difficult for commissioners to make responsible decisions and for the public to follow issues.
B. Holding meetings at convenient times and places. The timing of closed sessions should respect the convenience of citizens in attendance.
C. Providing opportunity for citizen input at meetings. All persons addressing a meeting should be required to identify themselves.
D. Increasing accountability by handling more County business as a Committee of the Whole where:
1. Discussion of issues takes place in meetings subject to the Open Meetings Act.
2. Action on important issues is not taken under the Consent Calendar.
3. The public has the opportunity to:
a. Hear the pros and cons of the discussion leading to action.
b. Provide input.
c. Evaluate the performances of individual commissioners.
E. Attracting and appointing a broad representation of citizens to County boards and commissions through:
1. Publication of vacancies with full description of duties.
2. A written statement of the desired qualifications.
3. A standard form of application which can be kept on file for a period of time.
4. Orientation and training for new appointees.
II. The League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area supports the active role of each County in promoting and facilitating flexible regional problem solving. Continuing action should focus on:
A. Communication and cooperation between local units of government for the purpose of:
1. Coordinating services.
2. Building consensus among governmental units, agencies, and the public on projects of common concern.
B. Management of growth by seeking new and creative solutions and by:
1. Encouraging a regional perspective which includes long range planning and updating of local government unit plans.
2. Serving as an educational resource for local units in growth and planning through mechanisms such as the use of retreats to serve as a means of fostering education and collaboration.
3. Ensuring that citizen concerns are incorporated in proposals.
4. Strengthening the role and authority of the County Planning Commission.
5. Encouraging collaboration among all units of government.
IV. The League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area supports long-range financial planning.
IV. The League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area supports an appointed administrator, acting under a well-defined job description, who coordinates the County's business and implements the policies of the Board of Commissioners.

Natural Resources Position

Revised June 2011
The League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area supports preserving, protecting, and enhancing environmental quality through evaluation of local and regional policies and programs. The League will review and comment, when appropriate, on projects and activities in the five-county region.
The League supports:
Water Resources: Protection of Great Lakes, inland lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands through programs and policies that reflect the interrelationships of water quality, water quantity, both ground and surface water, and that address the potential depletion or pollution of water supplies.
Energy Solutions: Environmental policies and programs that reduce energy growth, emphasize energy conservation and efficiency, and encourage the use of renewable resources.
Waste Management: Policies that promote reuse and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, and environmentally sound disposal methods that protect public air, health, water, and land resources.
Land Use: Managing land as a finite resource through comprehensive long-range planning, and policies and programs that will improve air and water quality by proper use of land and water resources.
Air Quality: Policies and programs that measure, regulate, and reduce air pollution from vehicular and stationary sources.
The League believes local governments should:
Promote environmentally sound practices. Inform their citizens about developments in natural resource planning and communicate local concerns to the regional planners.
Provide greater transparency in natural resource decision making by:
1) effective noticing,
2) use of open meetings, workshops, and community outreach,
3) extensive use of communications technologies.