I am a candidate for the position of director of Pottstown School District’s Board of Education. I’m running for this seat because I believe that education is the most important tool we offer the children of Pottstown. In the current economic climate within Pennsylvania, and indeed across the country, it’s more important than ever that we call on the resources within our region to support Pottstown students The idea that government can and should finance education solely through the collection of taxes is quickly being put aside, as we face budget cuts, contract disputes, shrinking support for education from Harrisburg and an eroding tax base. We are considering sacrificing the arts and sports programs offered to our children. While these co-curricular activities are termed “non-essential”, the fact is that children perform better when as many aspects of their development are encouraged and fostered during childhood and adolescence as possible.
It is time to work collaboratively and in new areas to cultivate educational support for Pottstown’s students. We cannot ignore that homeowners are in crisis in our community; we all face living on paychecks that have flattened or been cut by our employers. Social Security saw no increase last year and there’s no indication that’s going to change in the near future. Relying on tax dollars and government subsidy alone is not a long-term plan for Pottstown schools. We need to develop partnerships with private industry to create a sustainable source of funding for our schools. While these are far-reaching, lofty goals, I’d like the chance to have four years to begin paving the path toward self-sufficiency for Pottstown’s schools. We didn’t find ourselves facing these obstacles in one day or even one year. It will take time to determine the right course for our schools. We have an opportunity to put into place plans and milestones that change the course of Pottstown schools, and the borough as a whole.
Another reason I’m asking for your vote on May 17th is that I’d like to see a cooperative, team-oriented school board working together on behalf of Pottstown schools. My background in community service, and in the corporate world, has given me team building skills that are an asset in my professional and personal life. I believe in the value of each person, in making sure they’re heard in a respectful, open environment that welcomes diversity of opinion. I know there are dedicated, talented and innovative people and ideas we can draw on to build the best schools we can for our students. We are all examples to the children of Pottstown, whether or not we intend to be. It is my belief that through our actions on behalf of Pottstown’s students we help shape their lives and outcomes. On May 17th, I hope you’ll give me the chance to have a hand in shaping the future of Pottstown’s schools.
Mary-Beth Bacallao Lydon