Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Slate of Candidates Final for Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors and TE School District Races

If you are a candidate for the TE School Board or the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors, Tuesday, March 10 marked the last day to circulate and file nomination petitions at Chester County Voter Services for Pennsylvania’s May 19, 2015 Primary Election.

TE School Board candidates must file a petition signed by at least 10 qualified voters of the school district for the political party with which the petition will be filed. Generally, school board candidates cross-file. To cross-file in a primary election (that is, to run on both parties), a registered Democrat or Republican must circulate a proper petition for the other party. The petition must contain signatures as previously mentioned. If elected on both party ballots in the May primary, a candidate will appear on both party ballots in the general election in November.

Between the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors and the TE School Board, there are a total of nine seats available and of those nine seats there are only two incumbents seeking reelection. In addition, the current Tredyffrin Township Auditor Bryan Humbarger (R) is not seeking reelection. The candidates for Tredyffrin Township Auditor are Mary McCracken (D) and Lynn Shine (R).

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

• District 1 East: Paul Olson *
• Supervisor at Large: Sean Moir
• Supervisor at Large: Trip Lukens
• District 3 West: Heather Greenberg
* Incumbent

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

• District 1 East: Tory Snyder
• Supervisor at Large: Elva Bankins
• Supervisor at Large: Lou Horvath
• District 3 West: Yolanda Van de Krol

In a review of the slate of supervisor candidates, there are some familiar names and some not so familiar names among the list. The District 1 East supervisor race has a re-match between Tredyffrin Township Planning Commissioner Chair Tory Snyder (D) and long-serving Republican supervisor Paul Olson, president of ANA Laboratories, Inc. If you recall in 2011, this particular Tredyffrin supervisor race was extremely close with Olson (R) receiving 1,331 votes and Snyder (D) receiving 1,318 votes. Only 13 votes separated the two candidates four years ago, it will be interesting to see what happens in 2015.

Besides Snyder, there are two other Tredyffrin Township Planning Commissioners seeking elected office – At-Large supervisor candidate Trip Lukens (R) and TE School Board candidate Ed Sweeney (R). Lukens, a principal at Lukens & Wolf, a real estate appraisal and consulting company ran with current Chester County Commissioner Michele Kichline (R) as at-large supervisor candidates two years ago but lost the election to Democrats Mark Freed and Murph Wysocki.

Another interesting twist in the 2015 supervisor candidate race is at-large candidate Sean Moir (R). Owner of Western Heritage Mapping, a historical mapping service, Moir isn’t new to the local campaign circuit. Moir previously ran as a Tredyffrin at-large supervisor candidate six years ago but as a Democratic candidate. I was on the Democratic ballot as an at-large supervisor candidate with Sean but following our defeat in 2009, I changed my political party status back to Independent whereas Sean’s path took him to the Republican Party.

New names to the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisor races includes candidates Heather Greenberg (R), Elva Bankins (D), Lou Horvath (D) and Yolanda Van de Krol (D). A quick Google search indicates that Greenberg is a CPA working as Director of Finance and Administration at ModSolar; Bankins is management consultant and leadership development coach and speaker; Horvath is Director of graduate online health services at St. Joseph’s University and Van de Krol is Vice President, Relationship Manager at Customers Bank.

Looking at the TE School Board, there are five open seats available this election cycle – two for Tredyffrin Region 1, two for Tredyffrin Region 2 and one for Easttown Region 3.

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

• Tredyffrin, East – Region 1: Neal Colligan
• Tredyffrin, East – Region 1: George Anderson
• Tredyffrin, West – Region 2: Kris Graham*
• Tredyffrin, West – Region 2: Edward Sweeney

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

• Tredyffrin, East – Region 1: Roberta Hotinski
• Tredyffrin, East – Region 1: Todd Kantorczyk
• Tredyffrin, West – Region 2: Michele Burger
• Tredyffrin, West – Region 2: Alan Yockey

In addition to the Region 1 and Region 2 seats in Tredyffrin Township, Region 3 in Easttown Township has one seat available. Currently serving school board director Dr. Pete Motel (R) is not seeking reelection. Republican candidate for Region 3 is Kate Murphy and the Democratic candidate is Francis Reardon, owner of a local construction company.

Democrats on the ballot for Tredyffrin East Region 1 are Dr. Roberta Hotinski, a geoscientist at Princeton Environmental Institute and environmental attorney Todd Kanatorczyk, a partner at Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox. Republicans opposing Hotinski and Kanatorscyk in Tredyffrin East Region 1 are Neal Colligan, a commercial mortgage banker at CKPP & Associates and Dr. George Anderson, Director of International Student Development at Valley Forge Military Academy. I am pleased that my friend Neal Colligan, a mainstay at regular school board meetings and finance committee meetings, is a candidate for the school board. A longstanding supporter of the District’s aides and paras, he has continually offered background and expertise on the District’s finances.

Currently serving as TE School Board President, Republican Kris Graham is seeking reelection to another term. Attorney with Wusinich & Brogan and current Tredyffrin Township Planning Commissioner Ed Sweeney (R) is running with Graham for Tredyffrin West Region 2. Opposing Graham and Sweeney are Democrats Michele Burger and Alan Yockey. You may recall, Michele Burger was front and center on the Valley Forge tennis court issue, helping to save them from demolition by the school district. Joining Berger for Region 2 is Alan Yockey, a retired IT consultant.

Here’s hoping that the focus of the local 2015 political campaign season is about the issues and the candidates that best represent the vision of the community. It’s important to know the person that you are voting for and whether or not the candidate best represents your views. It’s your school district and your township – make your vote count! Thank you to all of the candidates for stepping up to run for office!

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  1. Many thanks for publishing this information, Pattye. I look forward to learning more about all the candidates from your coverage on Community Matters. With so many new faces, and the probability of a complete makeover on both Boards, this is an extremely important election.

    The prospects for the incoming Boards seem very different. At the Township there is a legacy of prudent and transparent fiscal management with a medium term plan; indeed there is a good argument for increasing discretionary spending on areas like stormwater management.

    On the other hand, the incoming School Board looks like it will be faced with a budget deficit for which there is no plan. Indeed the spending faucet is about to be turned wide open with the second largest bond issue in recent memory, bearing a cumulative interest cost of $13 million, subject to IRS rules that require the $24 million proceeds to be spent in 3-5 years. Expense pressures from expiring union contracts and Keystone exam remediation are looming. Some good news for taxpayers is that there is only one more year of large PSERS increases after the current budget year, so maybe there will be less complaining about that and more focus on items within the Board’s control. We’ll depend on Dr Gusick filling the vacuum and getting a firm grip of the reins when his term as Superintendent starts in July.

    1. Ray — regarding

      IRS rules that require the $24 million proceeds to be spent in 3-5 years.

      … what exactly is the Board’s plan for the use of the $24 million? Why the rush to borrow mega millions, especially given that IRS requires its immediate usage? Why not split the borrowing by taking some of it from the fund balance? I understand that we should not deplete the fund balance but does the District need really need a $32 million rainy day fund of taxpayer dollars?

      1. Perhaps the Board will review the items on which the $24 million will be spent when they vote to borrow it.

        You ask very good questions, and I hope that residents will also ask them, and receive satisfactory answers, when their representatives take that vote.

        Next Board meeting, March 23rd, 7:30pm, CHS.

        1. You can get some figures from Infrastructure Summary Report Oct 7,2014 (Facilities agenda Oct 17,2014) or I have a copy of the Implementation Plan and Cost Estimates (Infrastructure Update 2013) from Facilities May 10,2013.

        2. Sounds like Pelosi’s response to the 2000+ page obamacare bill passage. Just pass it and then read it when it is law.

      2. A brief update from the Facilities Committee. In response to a resident question, it was stated that 85% of the $24 million bond issue (taxpayer cost $37 million) has to be spent within three years. That’s $20.4 million, $6.8 million a year on average. The Capital Plan presented at the meeting calls for expenditures of $19.8 million if spending continues unchecked. It was stated that the spending shortfall would be OK with the IRS if the offering was approved by Bond Counsel, and that no school district has ever been assessed a sanction.

        This seems to be sailing rather close to the wind in a time of increasing scrutiny of financial entities. If there was ever a doubt that if the District has the money, then it will spend it, this should put that doubt to rest.

  2. Let’s hope Tory Snyder can unseat Paul Olson–which she came so tantalizingly close to doing last time around. While Mr. Olson appears to be a nice gentleman in person, as a resident of District 1 East I have found him to be completely unresponsive. We need a proactive, responsive Supervisor for D1 East in Tredyffrin…somebody who will listen to residents and get things done.

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