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BC Exeter School Board 4 year term {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Job description: School Board directors govern the school district. They set policy, establish curricula, adopt a budget, and determine the tax rate necessary to support it. They select the superintendent and approve appointments of staff. They serve part-time. Salary: none; Term: 4 years

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  • Dr. Andrea Battler
    (Dem, Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Theodore J. Gardella

  • Candidate picture

    Jason Mell
    (Dem, Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Timothy Morgan
    (Dem, Rep)

  • Julia J Shaffer
    (Dem, Rep)

Información Biográfica

What motivates you to run for the office of School Board Director?

Please explain your qualifications for this position.

What is the most important issue(s) facing our schools and how will you resolve it?

Education Doctorate of Pharmacy University of Pittsburgh 2006
Qualifications Mother; District Resident; Taxpayer
People motivate me. My children motivate me to fight for the best education possible. My neighbors motivate me to fight for the smartest way to educate all our children, while staying within budget. Teachers and administrators motivate me as I watch their struggles with increasing class sizes, uninvolved parents, and mountains of paperwork. Finally, my peers motivate me, as I watch them struggle with childcare, lack of communication, and concern for the welfare of their children in this everchanging climate. I ran for school board so that I can listen to others, learn where a problem may lie, and effect change.
Every time I see this question, I get out my list of accomplishments and start listing them one by one. For once, I am not going to do that. I am a mother. I am a good and active listener. I am a good friend. I also have worked in many capacities as a pharmacist from the time my children were born. I have filled many roles, and walked in many shoes. If nothing else, I have never shied away from voicing my opinion, or giving voice to others.
Currently, the most important issue facing our schools is the lack of proficiency of third graders in reading and math. Our children can only succeed at higher levels if they have a firm grounding in reading and math. We have put our children at a disadvantage. I don't believe it was intentional or is a reflection on the teachers, but rather of poor decision making at a higher level. It is already being addressed, but I would like to see more community involvement. Let us have high school students in need of volunteer hours to have open tutoring after school. If that doesn't work, can we partner with a local business that will offer a free meal for every 10 books read? I can reach out to teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and those at the state level. I can communicate effectively and in a timely manner. Most importantly, I don't ever give up. My favorite saying as a young adult was "if there is a will, there is a way", and it still rings true. We can do this.
Education B.S. Mathematics, Eastern Michigan University M.A, Curriculum, Instruction and Leadership, Oakland University
Qualifications I have over 35 years of experience in K-12 Education, serving as a teacher, administrator, local district superintendent, textbook author, and serving as an educational service provider with a national non-profit.
Campaign Website https://www.facebook.com/Theodore-J-Ted-Gardella-for-Exeter-Township-School-Board-110008258008005/?ref=pages_you_manage
I have a tremendous amount of experience in K-12 education, and I am genuinely concerned about current board practices. Our Exeter Township Board of Education is currently populated with directors who do not have the interests of students and the community as the basis for their decision making. They do not understand the current board policies, and they are not aware of the proper role for a Board of Education in directing the administration and managing the district. Too many recent decisions are being made to serve very narrow interests. I am confident that I can provide leadership to improve student academic achievement, increase board transparency for the community, improve the district budget and increase accountability.
I have over 35 years of experience in K-12 Public Education, and my nuclear family has over a century of experience in K-post secondary education. Both of my parents were long time teachers, and my brother is a Professor at SUNY Buffalo. Our family has been intimately involved with education for my entire life. Having served as a local district superintendent in 2 local districts, I know what it takes to develop a coherent and up to date policy manual. I have deep experience in improving student academic achievement at all levels. I also know how to improve the focus of a district budget to include the ROI for all decisions. Finally, I know how to engage with a community so that they will be heard and will support decisions
Improving Academic Achievement in a district with very poor performance, especially relative to the per pupil expenditures - third grade reading, seventh grade mathematics and high school graduation rates all need significant improvement. I have special expertise in all these areas.

Increasing Fiscal Responsibility - Exeter spends more than $21,000.00 per child yearly. Budgets keep increasing on a relative basis, while pupil population decreases. I have the experience in improving school budgets that is sorely needed.

Improve Board Transparency - Recent public comment at board meetings has highlighted the need to significantly improve board transparency and engage with the community directly.

Increase Accountability - Pennsylvania has a very weak academic accountability system. We need to implement a straightforward accountability system so that parents and community members can really see year over year.

Education Masters of Science in Information Systems from Drexel University, Bachelors of Science in Information Systems from Albright College
Qualifications Exeter Township Planning Commissioner and former owner of The Exeter Informant
I'm running because I have a vested interest in the success and integrity of the school district. Families are moving to Exeter Township and St. Lawrence Borough because of the positive reputation of the district. It’s the heart and driver of our communities. I want to ensure the district is producing quality education and extracurricular programs for students so that we can continue to attract families to our area. I also have concerns on the heavy tax burden the school district is placing on residents. I want to find ways to stabilize and reduce the tax levied on the community without impacting the students the district serves.
I’ve spent over six years reviewing and reporting on Exeter Township school board meetings while I was the owner and editor of The Exeter Informant; the online news site that served the community from 2014 to 2020. During that time, I’ve learned a lot about school board governance. I also know the history as well as the challenges the district continues to face. If elected, I would be able to hit the ground running in the position.

In addition, I've served as a Planning Commissioner for Exeter Township since 2019. In the position, I've gained a wealth of knowledge concerning land development and zoning and I believe my current work with municipal government is a great asset to the school board.

I've also served on other community boards including The Exeter Community Library and the Exeter Youth Soccer Association.
Financial stability in the district is a high priority issue for many, including myself. In a recent presentation, the district indicated that the pandemic had little impact on tax revenue collected from homeowners. However, the story I hear on the frontlines indicates many are struggling.

Year after year, the board is faced with a budget deficit that is either fulfilled by dipping into reserve funds or by raising taxes. The latest proposal to reduce and eliminate the deficit requires both a 1.9% tax increase and pulling $1.675 million from reserves with no absolute certainty that the deficit will be eliminated in future years.

Many Pennsylvania schools are seeking adequate funding from the state for special education programs along with reforms for pensions and cyber charter schools. While the administration was able to cut expenses by $450,000 for next school year, I want to find ways we can increase the district's revenue without the need to increase the tax burden on residents.
Community is very important to me. Having an opportunity to serve on the School Board would allow me to represent our children and the people of Exeter. Our children and their education needs to be at the forefront of this. Developing young men and women through their short 13 years at the district to become well rounded citizens with a focus on academic excellence will give them the highest chance for success as they move into higher education or directly to the workforce. Second, as a district, we need to be aware of our spending. I believe that creating a balance budget with as little impact to the community as possible is achieveable without cutting programs that develop the kids through academics, athletics, the arts and extracurriculars. Finally, communicating and keeping all of us accountable to our district goals is essential to the success of the district.
As a resident of Exeter Township and an active member in the community I am deciding to run for a School Director seat. I have lived in the district for fifteen years and absolutely love where we have chosen to raise our family. During my time here in the township I remain active in the boy scouting community where I have led or assisted in leading children for the last 12 years. I have coached with the Exeter Youth Baseball and Softball for the last 12 years as well. Finally, I am very involved in our community church. Passion and dedication for our children and the community is what I enjoy the most. I want to hear from as many of our citizens as I can! It is important to know what we are doing right and where we need to improve. It would be an honor and privilege to have an opportunity to serve on the School Board and represent the Exeter Township School District residents!
Education, Safety and Cost are the three issues I see facing the school district. When it comes to education, holding the district accountable to their goals is important. We need to develop Math and Reading programs that keep us on a continuum with other area districts. This is necessary in order to make Exeter an academic leader in the county. Safety of our children when they are on the district campus or being transported also needs to be placed at the top of our list. Continuing to ensure that we have proper protocols and building safety measures in place will help to protect our kids. Finally, district spending must be evaluated closely each year. We want to afford every opportunity to develop well rounded students. Looking at other areas of spending, working with legislature for charter school reform and reducing high cost outsourced programs that we can provide in-house at a lower cost to save taxpayers the burden of yearly tax increases is difficult but necessary.
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