Election 2017: Candidates for Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, TESD School Board & Magisterial District Judge, District 15-4-01

The 2017 Election campaign season is officially underway for Tredyffrin Township supervisor, TE School District directors and Magisterial District Judge candidates.

All candidates who wished to appear on the Democratic or Republican ballot in the Primary Election needed to have filed their “nomination petitions” along with a “statement of financial interests” with Chester County Voter Services. The nomination petition documents required the signature of registered voters, who are enrolled in the party of which the candidate sought nomination and reside in the electoral district of the office sought. The statement of financial interests requires the candidate to provide information regarding the filer’s source of income.

Below is the list of our local candidates for supervisor, school board and magisterial district judge – best of luck to all those taking the journey!  Regardless of party affiliation and stance on specific issues, we thank you for your time, effort and willingness to serve!

The last day for withdrawal by candidates who filed nomination petitions is March 22.  The Primary Election date is May 16.

Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors

There are three Tredyffrin Township supervisor positions available – two at-large and one in the middle district.  Currently serving at-large supervisor Mark Freed (D) and middle district supervisor Evelyn Richter (R) have chosen not to seek reelection.  At-large supervisor Murph Wysocki (D) is seeking a second term. Terms are four years.

Three attorneys, a physician, corporate CEO and real estate agent will vie for Tredyffrin Township’s three available supervisor seats.

For Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidates:

  • Supervisor at Large: Raffi Terzian, MD
  • Supervisor at Large: Robin Bond, Attorney
  • District 2 (Middle): Beth Coppola, Real Estate Agent

For Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee has announced the following candidates: (official endorsement meeting not yet held)

  • Supervisor at Large: Matthew Holt, Attorney
  • Supervisor at Large: Murph Wysocki, Attorney *
  • District 2 (Middle): Kevin O’Nell, CEO, Peoplelinx

* Incumbent

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TE School District School Board

For the 2017 election, there is a change to the election districts in the TE School District. The regional election districts in the TE School District were approved for realignment last year to address changes in population that had resulted in disparity among the voting regions. The new regional election districts take effect with the 2017 voting cycle. Terms on the school board are four years.

Voting Precincts: (Representatives will serve through December 31, 2017.)

Region 1- Tredyffrin E-1, E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5, M-1, M-5, M-6
Region 2- Tredyffrin  M-2, M-3, M-4, M-7, W-1, W-2, W-3, W-4, W-5
Region 3- Easttown 1-7

Voting Precincts Beginning with the 2017 Election: 

Region 1- Tredyffrin E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5, M-1, M-2, M-5, M-6, W-3, W-4,
Region 2- Tredyffrin M-3, M-4, M-7, W-1, W-2, W-5
Region 3- Tredyffrin E-1, Easttown 1-7

The Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has endorsed the following candidate for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director:

  • Region 2: Doug Anestad, Senior Technology Consultant

The Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee has announced the following candidates for the office of Tredyffrin-Easttown School Director: (official endorsement meeting not yet held)

  • Region 1: Scott Dorsey, Pastor, Director of Children’s Services *
  • Region 2: Kyle Boyer, Educator

* Incumbent

Incumbent school board director Scott Dorsey (D) is seeking a second term on the TE School Board. The Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee has chosen not to oppose Rev. Dorsey in the Region 1 school board race.

Incumbent school board directors Doug Carlson (R) and Virginia Lastner (R) are seeking reelection for a second term in Region 3.  Carlson currently serves as the President of the TE School Board.

UPDATE: Candidates Tina Whitlow (D) and Heather Ward (D) have filed to run for TE School Board for Region 3.

The Region 2 school board race will be interesting.  Republican Doug Anestad, a computer consultant, attends many of the school district meetings and is an active resident participant – most notably outspoken in his opposition of the VF Middle School fencing project (which the current school board elected to install).  Anestad’s opponent in the school board race is candidate Kyle Boyer (D) who is a currently a TESD social studies teacher at VF Middle School.  I do not recall when we have had a candidate for the TE School Board, who was a current TE School District teacher.  This could prove to be a delicate balance for candidate Boyer – employed as a teacher in the school district where he seeks to serve on its school board.

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Magisterial District Judge, District 15-4-01

Incumbent Analisa Sondergaard (D), an attorney is seeking her second 6-year term for Magisterial District Judge, District 15-4-01.  Opposing Sondergaard is Liz Mercogliano(R), attorney, realtor and RN.

Unlike the school board and supervisor candidates, where only 10 signatures are required on the nomination petitions, the magisterial district judge candidates are required to have 100 signatures. As is the case with school board candidates, those seeking district judge position, can cross-file and appear on both Republican and Democratic ballots.  To appear on both Republican and Democratic ballots, a school board candidate would need to have a minimum of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats signatures and a magisterial district judge candidate would need a minimum of 100 signatures from each political party.

24 Comments

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  1. Thanks Patty for the list of candidates. I was surprised to read that one of our local teachers is running for the school board. Is it legal? Did he need to check with his employer before running?

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    Pattye Reply:

    I’m sorry but I don’t know the answer to your question, maybe someone else reading CM can respond. I never knew a currently employed teacher to run for their own school board but that doesn’t mean it’s illegal. Maybe Keith Knauss can help us out — Keith, would the teacher candidate have to get the OK from TESD before running for the school board? I know of situations in the past where supervisor candidates have had to withdraw because employers viewed it as a conflict. But in the couple of cases that I recall, both were private company employers. Another thing ‘Curious’ all we know for sure is that Mr. Boyer is currently a TESD teacher — he may not plan to be an employee of the school district at the time of the election in November.

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  2. I don’t think there is any law against a teacher being a school director in their own district. However, I don’t have my school law book available at the moment to be sure. I know of one of our teachers at Unionville that was a school director at a neighboring district. Having a teacher be a director at the same district is fraught with conflict of interest situations. The teacher/director certainly would be left out of contract negotiations and labor disputes. I would think the teacher/director would have trouble trying to figure out which master to serve – the public or the union or his friends or himself.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Thanks Keith for your comment. It’s going to be interesting — all we know for certain is that the candidate is currently a TESD teacher. We agree that the conflict of interest would go away if the candidate is not employed as a TESD teacher for the 2017-18 school year. He could take a teaching/administration position in some other school district, serve on the TE School Board and then the conflict problem is solved.

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  3. Hi Pattye,
    No, the conflict of interest does not go away if this teacher accepts a job in another district. This teacher/director would never be able to escape the appearance and possibly actual conflict of interest even if employed at another district. The major driver of tax increases is the union contract. The terms of the contract directly drive 50% of any district’s budget and indirectly drive another 20%. How could any board have confidence that their negotiations strategy wouldn’t be leaked to the union leadership by the teacher/director? He would be under incredible pressure from his teacher friends in the district and from the union leadership in his district of employment. In our district we had the mother of a teacher run for school board. Thankfully, the voters chose another candidate.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Gosh — I hadn’t looked at it from that angle. And here I thought that the problem went away if our TESD teacher candidate just took a teaching/administrative job in another district. Thanks for your insight Keith.

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  4. It is patently unfair to suggest that a former teacher in TESD – and in this case a life-long resident of Tredyffrin and graduate of its public schools – would have an ongoing conflict of interest as a future school board director. It is Kyle Boyer’s intention to leave TESD and work as an administrator in another district. This was made clear from the very start of the conversation about his running for School Board.

    I am offended by the suggestion – by a Republican former school board member of the Unionville-Chadds Ford SD – that Kyle should not be trusted to act in an ethical manner if a sitting board member during teacher contract negotiations. As an ordained minister and youth pastor who holds himself to the highest personal standards, I can guess that he would offended by this accusation as well.

    Not only were the TTDEMS aware of Kyle’s status and his intentions, his supervisors and our superintendent were as well.

    We are very proud to support such a well-qualified candidate. Kyle’s passion for education and understanding of our district, its students and the high standards we strive to maintain is an asset. His graduate studies and certifications in education, as well as a Master’s in Public Administration from Penn and work experience are nothing short of impressive.

    Voters will consider the candidates, hopefully take the opportunity to meet them personally, and then decide.

    Pattye, I think as a matter of full disclosure, you should tell your readers that the Republican candidate for School Board in Region 2, Doug Anestad, works closely with you as an officer of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust. I proudly admit that I am also an officer of the Trust and the chair of Tredyffrin’s Democratic Party.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Kathleen, you refer to the candidate, Kyle Boyer as a “former teacher” of the TESD. According to the TESD website, Mr. Boyer is currently a VF Middle School social studies teacher. I stated both in the post and comments that Mr. Boyer is a “current” teacher for the 2016-17 school year. I further stated in a comment that I had no idea if Mr. Boyer would be a teacher/administrator in TESD or ‘another’ school district for the 2017-18 school year. If, as you say, he is a “former” teacher perhaps the TESD website is not up-to-date and that Mr. Boyer has indeed resigned and is no longer an employee.

    I can assure you that my interest in a ‘current’ TESD teacher candidate for the school board is not based on his running as a ‘D’, ‘R’ or ‘party of green’. Nor is my interest in Mr. Boyer’s candidacy for the school board (as a current TESD teacher) based on my knowing his opponent in the race. And for the record — my discovery of Mr. Boyer’s ‘current’ employer (TESD) was a simple Google search of his name — TESD, LinkedIn, etc. all come up listing the candidate’s current employer as TE School District.

    I will re-state — according to the TESD website, Kyle Boyer is a current not former teacher of the Tredyffrin Easttown School District. If Mr. Boyer has indeed resigned his teaching position with TESD, then I think the District needs to update their website. Perhaps the candidate could clarify his current employment status for me and others who may be reading CM. Mr. Boyer can either comment here or send me a personal email at tredyffrincommunitymatters@gmail.com .

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    TRes Reply:

    I’m offended that YOU are bringing politics into the mix and accusing Mr. Knapp of untoward behav. Mr. Knapp didn’t. Don’t blame others for your poor communication and lack of clarification here. Really doesn’t matter, R or D. All raise taxes and it’s the teachers that really matter. If your guy is qualified, great. Voters will decide. But please, knock off the partisan slams. And the nonsense that Pattye could have a conflict here? I’m with you on disclosure, but your context here is wrong.

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    Pattye Reply:

    Thank you for your comment. I think that you are referring to Mr. Knauss in your comment, correct?

    [Reply]

    TRes Reply:

    Yes.

  5. It’s nice to see the local political scene heating up when winter temperatures have returned with a vengeance outdoors!

    It’s helpful to know that Mr Boyer does not plan to still be an employee of the district if and when he is elected: conflicts would otherwise be tricky to manage.

    Former and current educators can bring helpful insights to our District’s affairs, but of course those need to be coupled with critical thinking and a recognition that the Board is elected as representatives of all taxpayers. We can look to a recent Board President and to Mr Anestad (a former teacher, also) to see two ways in which that professional experience can play out.

    I’m looking forward to learning about Mr. Boyer and to a diverse and engaged School Board in November.

    [Reply]

  6. Keith Knauss brings up some good points about conflict of interests. I would like to expand on his comments.

    Pennsylvania, like many other states, prohibits teachers from serving on their local school boards. In Pennsylvania, this is done through Section 324 of the Public School Code. This section states in part, “No school director shall […] be employed in any capacity by the school district in which he is elected or appointed […].” Therefore, it is not possible for a teacher in TESD to serve on the T/E School Board.

    As Kyle Boyer’s opponent in the school board race, I also have a teaching background. However, despite having almost twice the number of years teaching, I do not share his conflicts of interests.

    In addition to the conflicts mentioned by Keith, another conflict of interest is that Boyer will be reliant on TESD administrators for personal letters of recommendation. Because Boyer needs to resign as a TESD teacher to seek a new position, this conflict will continue to exist. Letters of recommendation are key to future jobs; and therefore are of great value.

    Another conflict of interest is political campaign contributions. As teachers are responsible for providing grades for their students, it would be a conflict of interest if his current parents financially contribute to his campaign.

    If Boyer does not resign at the end of the 2016-17 school year, it is a conflict of interest for a parent of current TESD students to donate to his political campaign. This is because the children of those parents could become Boyer’s students next year. In addition to Valley Forge Middle School, Boyer could be transferred to T/E Middle School or Conestoga High School as he has middle and high school teaching certifications.

    It is not feasible for Boyer to wait until the November election to resign from his TESD teaching position. The swearing in of school board members on December 4 is only 27 days after the November 7 election. Due to PA law and TESD policies, Boyer, like all PA teachers, is required to give 60 days notice for resignation. To meet the required deadline, Boyer must resign by October 5, a full month before the election.

    [Reply]

  7. UPDATE: Candidates Tina Whitlow (D) and Heather Ward (D) have filed to run for TE School Board for Region 3. Heather is a 2013 graduate of Conestoga and will graduate from Villanova University in May of this year.

    [Reply]

  8. Pattye, as you clearly understood from reading the first two sentences of my response above, Kyle will have left the District long before the November election or the 60-day requirement. Kyle thought long and hard about running for School Board. In deciding to run for office, he made the decision that he could serve the District without working in it. T/E administrators and his colleagues are aware of his plans. All are clear on the law, as are the TTDEMS, who fully support his candidacy.

    Again, I suggest that your close relationship with Doug Anestad makes it very difficult for you to remain neutral. You may plan to do whatever you can to promote Doug’s candidacy and to allow Doug to use CM to promote himself.

    It is certainly your prerogative to do so.

    But voters should understand what is going on here. They will decide whether a teacher who leaves the district at the end of the 2016-17 school year is the better choice in Region 2 – with all the experience he brings as a graduate of T/E schools and the District’s children and curricula.

    Voters will have ample opportunity to meet both candidates and evaluate their credentials. The decision will not be made on this blog.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    First, it was not clear that Mr. Boyer would have “left the District long before the November election or the 60-day requirement” from your comment. You claimed that Mr. Boyer is a “former teacher in TESD’ and I was simply trying to clarify that he is currently a TESD teacher. That’s all I know and that’s all I stated.

    You post comments about Mr. Boyer’s personal agreements with the T/E administration, his colleagues and the TTDEMS, stating that the candidate is leaving the school district as if I or anyone else reading Community Matters, should somehow magically know this information.

    According to you, Mr. Boyer shared his employment plans to leave the school district with the T/E administration and with the TTDEMS. So, I invite Mr. Boyer to email me personally or post a comment on CM to clarify the information and neither has occurred. I do not know Mr. Boyer; I simply asked for clarification from the candidate himself. All I know for certainty is that Mr. Boyer is a current teacher in the T/E School District. If, as you say, these arrangements with the school district and TTDEMS have occurred, than why can’t the candidate himself state the facts? I just don’t get it.

    Since starting Community Matters eight years ago, I have always believed that “all voices matter”. I have supported individual’s rights to state their opinions even if not in agreement with my own.

    Each campaign season I have spent much personal time giving all local supervisor and school board candidates (and State Representative candidates) equal opportunity to state their positions on important community issues. Regardless of their political party affiliation, candidate comments/statements were posted “unedited” on Community Matters.ALL candidates have been treated equally and given the same opportunity, regardless of political party. As chair of the TTDEMS, you know this to be true and I take it personally for you to suggest otherwise.

    In this specific case, you imply that I am biased and I am giving Doug Anestad, the Republican school board candidate, a greater opportunity on Community Matters than Kyle Boyer, the Democratic school board candidate. The fact: Mr. Anestad chose to leave a comment and Mr. Boyer (to date) has chosen not to, even when personally asked. How in the world is that somehow giving Mr. Anestad an unfair advantage?

    I assure you Kathleen, and everyone reading this comment, that Kyle Boyer (or any other individual!) is free to make a comment on Community Matters.

    [Reply]

    My two cents Reply:

    Unwarranted political attacks serve as a reminder that what goes on at the National level can be found here in our own backyard. As chair of a local political party, Keohane should lead by example. This post didn’t require her politicization.

    [Reply]

  9. Our last election was terrible enough and its starting again locally. Why would anyone chose to run for a public office? A school board director volunteers for countless hours its an unpaid position and sometimes the person is subjected to verbal attacks . How rewarding is that ? All that really matters is the fact that a person, possibly a neighbor, wants to use their time and expertise to benefit children and serve our entire community. I ‘m an R from Region 1 yet I went out to collect R signatures for a D candidate. This person is running on both the R & D ballot unopposed. I’ve known candidates that stayed in office for 4 terms simply because NO ONE ran against them . Please end this bickering now ..just communicate the facts instead of blaming. I want to thank ANY candidate who chose to run in the next primary .. very grateful for your willingness to serve if elected. Thanks Pattye for this forum.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Thank you for your comment. As I stated in my original post, ” … best of luck to all those taking the journey! Regardless of party affiliation and stance on specific issues, we thank you for your time, effort and willingness to serve!” As you say, “communicate the facts” — and yes, facts do matter!

    [Reply]

  10. Kyle Boyer is a fabulous teacher, one of the best my kids have experienced at VFMS! I appreciate the clarity on what he will need to do (resign) to run in the general election. The kids loss would be the board’s gain.

    Is there a map of the new voting regions anywhere? I am not clear who I will be voting for!

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Here is a link to the TESD voting districts as provided by the school district:
    http://www.tesd.net/cms/lib/PA01001259/Centricity/Domain/57/Proposed_Reapportionment_Plan.pdf
    Hope that this helps.

    [Reply]

  11. Thank you for the list of candidates. It is important to have such a source of information. I’m struck, however, by your commentary on the region 2 school director race as it is completely inconsistent with your presentation of the rest of the races/candidates.

    As a new reader to this blog I’m compelled to ask if it’s intended to have political leanings. The facts you chose to present were so cherry picked its hard not to comment.

    I’m simply seeking a nonpartisan information source and can’t be sure that I found one here.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    As a registered Independent, I make the choice not to affiliate with a specific political party. However, that does not mean that I am without an opinion. As a voter, you can make your own choice.

    [Reply]

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