Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Political Agendas....Voting...Lets Go People!

On May 8th the voter polls will open to elect the next school board representative.  That said there are a couple of things that have me extremely concerned about the overall election, the candidates and what a run for school board has become in this district.  First off, historically votes for school board elections are dramatically low.  A statistic I find troubling to say the least.  As parents we hold everything our child does so dear and yet when it comes to electing officials who determine the crucial educational outcomes for our very own, we put the responsibility on others to be the voice and cast a vote.  But who are the people behind the voice who end up casting the most votes and for whom?  If you don’t already know the answer read on, clearly elections in this district, even for a school board, have become political warfare with republicans beating up the polls.

Take for example last year’s race.  A man by the name of Richard Forsten, a Middletown resident who has no children but is a republican and is the Parliamentarian and General Counsel for the Republican Party of Delaware, won the open seat on our district school board.  Why would someone who has no children be interested in a school board seat?  Simple, Forsten has an agenda and the word ‘school’ or ‘children’ is not on it.  This is a man who represents several land developers in our area rather than our children’s best interests.  He used a simple district election, ours, to gain leverage in his political status.  He plans to use that leverage to run for a seat in the newly created District 11.  How did he do it?  Giant signs on the side of the road, pockets lined with politician dollars from the Republican Party who supported and funded his campaign, yet no campaigning was carried out.  There were no meet and greets, no public forum addresses and still he won.  The supporters of candidates like Forsten are a woven knit bunch who backs their own in big numbers.  Unfortunately, the parents in our district didn’t back ‘their own’ [children] by getting out and voting last year.  If you aren’t already frustrated read on and if the rest of this article doesn’t get you out on May 8th, you simply don’t care.

Take this year's campaign, which has quickly become another year of political battle over democrats and republicans than it is over who is the right person for the job.  Did you know that one candidate; Andy Cherry also holds the republican chair for our district, the colonial GOP chair for the region?  While I am not encouraging a larger political explosion over a school board election you need to consider that Mr. Cherry is doing just that.  He is bullying his competition because he knows there is a strong, viable candidate who has a good shot at winning, her name is Charlisa Edelin.  Cherry is rallying his supporters with email blasts and direct mailings to the Middletown residents who are also members of the Republican Party.  He has chosen to spend his campaign funds on billboard sized signs directly outside his competitions home to foster a tactic of intimidation.  He is using our election in the same way Forsten did last year to gain leverage in his political trail.  Do we really want another ‘wannabe’ politician practicing their skills on our kids?

He can be stopped, we can prove that regardless of political standing or how much money you can afford to spend on giant signs, that we are a small, strong community willing to stand up and vote on behalf of our child’s best interest. 

Consider the opposition, Charlisa Edelin, whose campaign motivation is simple; as a parent with school aged children attending our district's public schools, she's not satisfied.  Rather than put the responsibility of creating a better learning environment for the district on those who are looking for their next position on the political trail, she has taken matters into her own hands by running in this election.  She is a strong competitor, well known and respected by many in this community.  Cherry knows it and he will spend every last campaign dollar on giant signs to try and bully her out of this race.  It’s too late to battle over Forsten, he’s already won, but there is time this year by voting Edelin for Education on May 8th.

Denise Pavona


  1. Like SD27 said. We must establish a pattern of sites such as this across the country so they will know we mean business. Good luck in your efforts.

  2. Thanks for telling it like it is!! It's time for good ol' grass-roots organizing. We might not have the big money of the business folks who want to buy the election and run the district like a business, but we have the numbers/voters with our parents and school employees. It's all about May 8!!

  3. Couldn't agree more about Mr. Cherry! But what about the fact that Mrs. Edelin has not brought any viable plans to the table to deal with the financial crisis the disctrict is experiencing. She has good ideas for programs, but no idea how to fund them without eliminating something else or how to help the district make better use of its current resources. Mr. Romeo brings extensive experience in increasing productivity and more efficiently using resources through process change. He has no political agenda. And yes, he has children in the district. I believe he is a better choice and his only obligation will be to answer to the students and the taxpayers, not a business consortium or the unions.

    1. Anonymous (4/26/12),

      While we agree about Mr. Cherry, I respectfully disagree that Mr. Romeo is a better choice.

      As a municipal bond attorney who has helped the Philadelphia School District and other universities raise and manage more than $300 million dollars; a former senior counsel of the Philadelphia Housing Authority's litigation department who reviewed vendor contracts and payments; I, too, bring extensive experience in increasing productivy using fewer resources.

      If elected, one of the first projects I would pursue is Dr. Marchio's (former Superintendant of the district) suggested expansion into distance learning. For example, if there are only 50 students taking Mandarin Chinese in the district, but the students are at different high schools, we can have 1 class that is accessed virtually, instead of hiring 2 teachers, using 2 classrooms, etc.

      Furthermore, 2 of the 3 programs I have presented will cost the district no additional funds. I have suggested that we create a volunteer network that will read to our 3-5 year old residents for 1000 over 2 years. The key word here is "volunteer" -- the district will not be asked to spend any money toward this initiative which will pay huge dividends when our students reach Kindergarten and beyond.

      I have also suggested more effective and relevant professional development courses for our teachers. The district already provides some professional development courses, I'm advocating that we include teachers' input to determine which courses will be offered.

      Finally, Mr. Romeo and I have suggested that the district explore the idea of including our middle schools in the DIAA athletic program. I have said many times that I don't know the cost of DIAA membership, but if it is too costly, I've suggested that we host intramural tournaments between the middle schools. Like the reading program, intramurals would be a volunteer based program with little cost to the district.

      Lastly, I am proud that the DSEA, AEA, AESP, AFSWA, unions are supporting me because we all have the same goal: give the students of the Appoquinimink School District a first-class global education. My only obligation is to the students of the district.

      Charlisa Edelin

    2. Clearly, the second "anonymous" blogger who touts Mr. Romeo as the better candidate is Mr. Romeo himself. This is the same message he sent out via the school email system to all the Appo employees. Hey, wait -- I thought the school email system wasn't supposed to be used for political activity... hmmmm.
      Mr. Romeo did himself no favor by addressing his opponents as if they are all the same, or by attacking the qualifications of Charlisa Edelin. She can speak for herself as she has so aptly done, but I'll say this as a union member. Our backing her candidacy is about what's best for the KIDS in Appoquinimink School District. Appo is full of dedicated employees who demonstrate day after day that the students are their top priority.
      She will owe us nothing, but to do her best as a school board member.

  4. Apparently there has been some comment problems on this article. I would like to repost the comment left by Jason C Romeo:

    First, thank you to my supporters. It appears I am considered a non-contender by the original post on this blog.

    Second, I have previously attempted to respond to the accusation above but my response was removed for an unknown reason. I will attempt a response once again.

    You have accused me of violating the direction the School Board gave the candidates regarding use of the District's internal email system. The Board informed us that we were not to use it for email blasts to the staff. The comment was directed at the fact that my wife is an employee of the District therefore having access to the internal email system and its distribution lists. It would clearly be a breach on her part to allow me to use her access to email the District staff.

    What I did was to make use of publicly available information from the District's public web site and 20 minutes of my time to create a distribution list of almost 1000 addresses. I then sent an email asking for their support and vote to that list from my Yahoo email account.

    The unions are able to use the internal email system to promote support of their candidate. It is probably considered a union activity, not a campaign activity on the candidate's part. I would imagine use of the internal email system for union activities is allowed for in the agreement between the union and the District.

    I think I came up with an innovative approach, using publicly available resources at no cost, without violating School Board direction, to reach not only the union members, but all staff within the district. I plan to bring that same innovation to the School Board.

    Jason C. Romeo

    1. Thank you for your prompt attention to the technical problem. I appreciate your effort and willingness to host an open forum. Even if this reply does not post I know you will see it in the email notification you receive. And I have posted it on my FB page.
      Best Regards,
      Jason C. Romeo

    2. First Romeo posts a comment anonymously attacking Edelin, when she responds he chooses to ignore her remarks and give us a tutorial on how to create a distribution list. Non-contender, you bet and who better than to prove it but Romeo himself. Thanks for the validation.

  5. Jason Romeo is the better candidate. Spoke with him and two other candidates. He clearly had more knowledge about the district. It's that plain and simple. No mud slinging from hom either. He has my vote!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.