School Board Candidates
Lower Merion and Narberth residents have the opportunity in 2021 to restore balance to what has too long been a one-party School Board. The Democrat School Directors have taken every opportunity to overtax residents, develop our natural areas, and radicalize the curriculum being used to teach our children. Christina Fink, Travis Kreiser, and Brendan Sammon are running for School Board because they know the Board must do better for our kids and our taxpayers.
2021 School Board Candidates
Christina Fink ★ ★ ★ Travis Kreiser ★ ★ ★ Brendan Sammon
OUR VISION FOR LOWER MERION SCHOOLS
★A Return to Fiscal Responsibility. Our District has one of the highest per pupil budgets and the current Board has consistently raised taxes, but the residents and students have received no return on that investment. Instead, our high school rankings both statewide and nationally have steadily declined over the past 10 years. We attribute the decline to fiscal mismanagement and misguided curriculum decisions. Prime examples of poor financial choices include recent large expenditures to construct a new middle school and distant athletic fields, when neither location is well suited for the purpose and both have received substantial community opposition. A better approach would have involved more effective utilization of the many locations already owned by the District. We believe that a more cautious and measured approach should be applied to all spending and hiring decisions.
★Implement a Student First Curriculum. If we hope to restore our reputation as one of the best public school districts in the state and beyond, we need to refocus our priorities and expand the opportunities made equally available to every student from Bala Cynwyd and Ardmore to Bryn Mawr and Gladwyne. This requires an educational program focused first on the basics in math, science, history and English reading writing and public speaking, with curricula unfettered by the distraction of modern-era divisive politics. Our primary goal should not be the mere transmission of information but the development of basic skills needed to critically evaluate the full spectrum of thought and opinion on every subject. Second we need to expand our educational offerings by leveraging the vast resources available through many local colleges, universities and businesses, as well as transforming the no longer innovative “Senior Project” into a truly memorable learning experience for every student. Finally, our schools suffer from a near complete lack of school spirit. We believe there are invaluable lessons to be learned when students put aside whatever differences they may have in order to collectively participate in the common experience of a proud “Lower Merion Student” at a sporting event, musical performance, dance, etc.
★A Return to Common-Sense Leadership. When there is a lack of community consensus we need a school board that can lead, which doesn’t mean unilaterally imposing an unpopular decision. Instead, we would select a reasonable course of action and then develop the needed community support for that proposed decision with an open mind to modifying the approach where appropriate. Over this past year, instead of leading by example and showing other districts across the state and beyond how we could all return to the safe in-person education critical to student success, emotionally, physically and educationally, our Board sat on the sidelines paralyzed by fear, even while our many local private and parochial schools safely returned to in-person learning. While we can’t predict the next crisis, we promise to, in each instance, creatively search out the information needed to lead the District to the best possible outcome in the shortest possible time.
★Add Transparency to Board Decisions. The current Board lacks transparency and fails to involve the community in decision making. Each of us have provided contact information and pledged to maintain open contact with the community during our term after being elected. We further pledge to seek community involvement in decision making before decisions are made, not after. So instead of wasting valuable funds on lawyers to defend unpopular decisions like lighting Arnold Field, the construction of an unnecessary new middle school on the distant edge of the District or the development of athletic fields in what many consider valuable open space, we intend to involve the community on the front end of decisions, searching for those solutions to true school district priorities that can garner broad based community consensus.
★Add Diversity to the Board. The current Board has operated as a monolith for more than ten years, being comprised exclusively of members from a single political party, all of whom seem to think and operate in lockstep. Regardless of the topic, the best outcomes are achieved only when all options are fully considered and tested by competing views. We will add the diversity of ideas and experience needed to ensure that our Board fully vets every reasonable course of action and selects only that option which survives all available analysis.