Six seek four seats on Pottstown School Board
POTTSTOWN » The Pottstown School Board race features six candidates, two of them incumbents, seeking four open seats.
Incumbent Thomas Hylton will appear on the Republican line as will David Miller.
John Armato and school board President Amy Francis and won both Democratic and Republican lines during the spring primary.
Raymond Rose and former board member Bonita Barnhill will appear on the Democratic ballot line.
Incumbent Susan Lawrence is running unopposed to complete the two years remaining to the term to which the school board appointed her to fill a vacancy.
In his response to a candidate questionnaire, Hylton, 68, wrote that he is president of non-profit, Save Our Land, Save Our Towns, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University.
He wrote that he decided to run because “with the third highest school property taxes in Penn- sylvania, the Pottstown School District must learn to live within its means.”
In a second term, Hylton wrote that he would “encourage the school district community to provide a quality education without raising spending beyond the rate of inflation and to continue threeyear trend of no tax increase.”
Miller, 61, is a former Pott- stown Borough Council member works as a lawyer and holds a law degree from Widener University,
he wrote in his response. He decided to run, he wrote in his response, because of a “desire to work on tough issues that test the decision making process. Interest in seeing the Pottstown School District enhance it’s public image and perception.
If elected, Miller wrote he would “hold leaders accountable, enforce our standards, and place students in the best possible position to compete and win.”
Armato, 69, has a long list of connections to the district.
“I have served the Pottstown School District and community for 48 years in various capacities including High School classroom educator, Athletic Director, class sponsor, National Honor Society sponsor, Director of Student Activities, Wrestling coach, Director of Community Relations, independent consultant to the School District for community relations, parent of two Pottstown High School graduates, member of the Civil Service Commission, member of the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority, and served on numerous community and school district committees. The last eight years serving as a full time non paid volunteer to the school district as Director of Community Relations,” he wrote in his candidate response.
Armato, who holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from East Stroudsburg State College, wrote in his response that “public education plays a vital role in preparing the future generations of our citizens and its leaders. We have a moral and ethical obligation to ensure they are given the educational opportunities to assist them in reaching their potential. As a member of the school board I can lend my experience in helping to meet the challenges that face public education to ensure a bright future for our children.”
He added, “my goal is to help provide the best edu- cational opportunities for our children, while at the same time being fiscally responsible to our community. We must advocate in Harrisburg for tax reform that will eliminate the unfair burden our home owners are forced to carry and grossly under-funds Pottstown Schools by $13.7 million a year. In order to achieve that it will require strong partnership with administration, faculty, support staff, parents, community, borough council and the private business sector.”
In his response, Rose, 42, wrote that he decided to run for school board because “I have three children in the Pottstown School District. Being involved in various community events related to the schools, I learned that I could make a big impact by offering my point of view, time, and talent.”
A web developer with a bachelor of science in information systems, Rose wrote if elected his top priority would be “parent engagement in the school system. With it, kids soar in school. Without it, they are lost.”
In her response, Francis, 49, wrote that she is running due to “the desire to continue to fight on our community’s behalf for a more fair and equitable educational experience for Pottstown students, along with a more reasonable and just way to fund our public educational system for the Pottstown taxpayers.”
Francis is self-employed and holds a bachelor’s degree. She served as a school board director from 2005 to 2009 and from 2012 to the present. She became board president in 2016.
“Clearly the biggest challenge that Pottstown School District faces today is the lack of fair and equitable funding of public education in the state of Pennsylvania, especially for financially disadvantaged districts, such as Pottstown,” Francis wrote. “If elected, I will continue to work with fellow board members, parents, staff, faculty and students to build and support a sustainable network of advocacy on behalf of the district and our community.”
Barnhill did not provide a response to Digital First Media’s candidate questionnaire.