Six candidates are vying for three seats on Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board
● By J. Chambless
The UCF School Board (from left), superintendent John Sanville, and board members Michael Rock, Steve Simonson, Victor Dupuis, Robert Sage, Gregg Lindner, Keith Knauss, Kathleen Do, Jeff Hellrung and Carolyn Daniels.
By John Chambless
Six candidates are running for three seats on the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board, and the very close results in the primary point toward a close race leading up to Nov. 3. The surprise resignation of board member Keith Knauss last week will add an unexpected wrinkle to the future composition of the board.
Republican incumbent board member Carolyn Daniels and newcomers Lorraine Ramunno and John P. Murphy are the Republican Party endorsed candidates. Incumbent Democrats Kathleen Do and Gregg Lindner won the Democratic nomination, in tandem with their running mate, former Republican Party mainstay Beverly Brookes.
The Lindner-Do-Brookes website outlines their stance: “Our School Board should be balanced, with all ideas discussed and all sectors represented. Politics has no business in the governance of our schools. The quality of our schools must be protected and enhanced. We believe in responsible fiscal management, controlling spending and keeping the tax rate as low as possible while maintaining the high-quality education standards of the UCF School District. All employees should be treated with the highest levels of dignity and respect.”
Lindner and Do were elected to the School Board in 2011. The website points out that, “Taxing rates over the past four years have been at historic lows while the building of necessary reserves has allowed for appropriate investments. Bev shares their vision of a board where all members work together for the common good of students, employees, and the greater Unionville community.”
Among the talking points outlined on the site is a statement that, “We endorse legislation to eliminate the primary system for School Board Directors and have Pennsylvania School Directors elected directly during the November General Election without party identification. This would put Pennsylvania in line with 47 other states that administer only non-partisan elections for School Director positions.”
The site also points out, “In 2015, Kathy and Gregg, along with Mike Rock of Pocopson, were the only board members who stood up against the conservative forces on the board, speaking out in favor of a budget that allowed us to maintain the excellence of our schools while providing the flexibility to ensure that cuts will not become necessary. … They have worked successfully to enhance services, review and revise policies, and consider ways to improve the educational experience of our students; all while ensuring that there are no undue burdens placed upon taxpayers.”
Brookes “has embraced this ideology and promises to consider each issue that comes before the board on it’s own merit, basing her decisions on what is in the best interest of our children and our community,” the site reads.
The web site for the Do, Lindner and Brookes campaign is http://ucf-fusion2015.com.
The opposing candidates maintain a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Friends-of-Daniels-Murphy-Ramunno-for-School-Board) that outlines their positions and backgrounds. “It has been an honor to serve as your current school board director for the last two years,” Carolyn Daniels writes. “I am a strong advocate and representative for all children, parents and residents of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, with a longstanding commitment to our community and our schools. I am dedicated to school board transparency and efficiency and take everyone's best interest into account before making decisions that will affect all of us.
“During my last two years on the board, I have served as the Chair of District Communications Committee and sub-chair for UCF Curriculum Committees, I am also a Key Communicator, Wellness Committee Member and Homework Committee Member and frequent attendee at the monthly meetings with our Superintendent, 'Java with John,' to get a good sense of concerns our community has with our schools. I have participated in principal and assistant principal searches and currently serve as the Chair for the PTO Advisory Board. The Advisory Board gives us the opportunity to meet with parent PTO leaders from all six schools to get a better idea of what concerns parents have in all our district schools and share solutions when issues arise.
“I am in my seventh year of Curriculum Council and one of the lead proponents for enacting a 'Return to Learn Policy' to help our students suffering from concussions ease back into their school social and academic life,” Daniels writes. “I am a strong advocate against bullying, committed to bringing out the best in all of our students from their first day of school to graduation.”
John Murphy has lived in Pennsbury Township since 2005. All three of his children attend Unionville-Chadds Ford schools. He was commissioned as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer and spent nine years on active duty with assignments around the world, including one as a platoon leader during Operation Desert Storm. Following military service, he joined MBNA America and was a Senior Vice President in the marketing division. He later started his own small business providing marketing services to other small businesses. He is a volunteer and coach with the Unionville Recreation Association, the Hillendale PTO, The Kennett Area YMCA and a prior board member of the Ministry of Caring Guild.
Lorraine Ramunno and her husband, Lawrence, have three children. The family moved to Pennsbury Township from North Wilmington in 2000 because of the reputation of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. She is an attorney in Media, practicing criminal defense, juvenile defense, family law, dependency cases and personal injury. She is an active parent volunteer with the UHS football team and “after devoting these past 18 years to raising her children and committing to her law practice, she is now ready to devote her time and skills and give back to the community,” the website states.