1. Please tell us a little about yourself (family, children, where you grew up, educational background, career path, etc).
I grew up in Hammonton, New Jersey, and graduated from Saint Joseph’s High School. I attended Immaculata College and received my bachelor’s degree in biology. After graduation, I was very fortunate to work at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia under the direction of Dr. Hilary Koprowski, a leader on the cutting edge of cancer research. I left Wistar to become a homemaker for my husband Dennis and for our children Sean, Ryan and Ellen.
2. Why are you running for School Board?
I am running for Upper Darby School Director in order to be given an opportunity to continue with my mission of providing the best possible education for our children with the least possible economic impact to the taxpayers of Clifton Heights, Millbourne and Upper Darby. Unfunded mandates, combined with reduced federal and state funding mechanisms, continue to make this a formidable task.
3. What do you see as the strengths of the Upper Darby community, and separately, the School District?
Our school district is actually a mirror image of our local neighborhoods and their tremendous ethnic diversity. Our community boasts affordable housing, multiple transportation resources, an emphasis on economic development, and most important, a safe, secure environment that welcomes people from other countries and cultures. With this diversity comes our strengths – a school district where children learn tolerance, respect and communication with other children from so many different backgrounds.
4. What do you see as areas of concern or needed growth of the Upper Darby community, and separately, the School District?
Property tax reform as it regards funding public education is clearly one of the largest issues facing our communities. Using the current formula – where you live dictates what you pay is grossly unfair. Upper Darby Township is moving forward with an aggressive approach to increase the economic development which ultimately leads to increased revenues and helps to stem the tide of increased costs for the delivery of municipal services. The school district, on the other hand, is bound to rely on a tax based on real property values as a major portion of revenue to balance the budget. This formula needs to change.
5. Please talk briefly about what you see as three important priorities for education reform at a policy level and your position on these issues.
Reform – Reform – and Reform are clearly priorities as it regards public education. Specifically – reform of funding mechanisms as they regard public education and provide adequate, sustainable and equitable solutions. Reform the current funding formula for charter and cyber-charter schools – they receive full fare for each child without the accountability as the school district. Reform the current pension system for our state employees which includes our teachers – projections indicate dire consequences if the system stays in place.
6. Please talk about three critical issues you would like to see the School District address over the next couple of years.
- Curriculum needs to include discussions regarding an ever changing global economy along with the challenges that are created.
- Harrisburg and Washington need to know that the funding system for public education is broken and the education is key to our children’s success.
- Continue with our policy of public involvement in the budget process and continue with a transparent presentation of the facts regarding shrinking revenue streams and increased costs for delivery of services.
7. Is there anything else you would like the voting community to know about you?
These times present tough financial situations for all of us especially who are unemployed, disabled or living on a fixed income. The decisions that are ultimately made regarding the annual budget are sometimes very difficult but please know that I share your concerns. I continue to fight for more funding from the state – I met with the Governor last year and was frank with him about how reduced revenues play havoc with our ability to deliver services. The children of our communities are our greatest asset and deserve a quality education – the taxpayers of our communities are our backbone and deserve the lowest possible economic impact. I am committed to both of these tasks, and while they may seem to be dissimilar at first glance, they are actually parallel. I will continue my fight for them.