The Journal Gazette
Thursday, October 08, 2020 1:00 am

SACS will benefit from new blood

Meagan Milne

In the fall of 2012, voters in the Southwest Allen County Schools district elected me, a first-time candidate, to be one of five school board trustees.

During the eight years that followed, I did my best to use my legal background and parent perspective to serve our community and its children in a fiscally responsible manner. I respectfully sought common ground, and my colleagues unanimously chose me as the first-ever female SACS board president.

I led the board for four years before handing the gavel to the extremely capable Tom Rhoades.

More importantly, I played a role in numerous milestones, including hiring Phil Downs, who was named superintendent of the year for 2020; approving projects that ensured parity among all SACS elementary schools; improving safety at every one of our buildings; supporting one of the first one-to-one computing programs in Indiana, which led to e-learning that put us light years ahead when the pandemic hit; overseeing development of a  $160 million dollar plan to substantially renovate Homestead High School without raising taxes; and passing a referendum to keep our student-teacher ratios low.

I'm extraordinarily proud of these accomplishments and deeply grateful for the dedicated teachers, hardworking staff, forward-thinking administrators, engaged families and supportive taxpayers who make our district exceptional. Helpful mentors such as John Blum and Tim Loomis also deserve kudos.

Every single day, my husband and I thank our lucky stars that our children could attend Southwest Allen's schools. However, our son and daughter are now college students, and my connections within our elementary schools as well as at Woodside, Summit and Homestead have naturally waned.

In short, while I ran unopposed in 2016 and was strongly encouraged to run for a third term, the time has come for others to step up. Fortunately, candidates have filed for this nonpartisan position.

Having recently met Tracy Bilodeau, I find her to be hardworking, a quick study and willing to genuinely listen to others. Her nursing background, her demonstrated support of the district, and the fact that she and her husband have children enrolled in SACS schools from the elementary through high school level give her a unique and needed perspective on our board. She would be a welcome addition.

It has been a true honor and a privilege to serve as a trustee for SACS. I will always advocate for our district, and for public schools in general, because schools that accept all children are the backbone of our democracy.

Elections matter. Be informed; vote.

Meagan Milne, a Fort Wayne resident, holds the District 3 at-large seat on the Southwest Allen County Schools board.

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