Every child deserves a good education, without crushing taxpayers

| 06 May 2015 | 07:12

    To the Editor:
    I attended my first Delaware Valley School Board meeting in 2012. Although I am sure my words were audible, I left with the feeling they were not heard. Over the course of the next year I attended many more meetings only to leave with the same feeling. In 2013 I decided to run for that office and, that November, I was elected to a two-year term.

    I never before was involved in any form of politics, and I never wanted to become the politician who disappeared the day after election day. I have spent the past 16 months involved in the community. I have formed relationships with community groups, houses of worship, and your elected municipal, state, and county officials — wherever you have been: community events, sporting events, tricky-trays, etc. I have sought you out to insure your voice is heard. I have posted my phone numbers on social media and have answered every message and phone call.

    From a financial standpoint, the office of school board director is arguably as important as any other position in this election. School taxes account for the largest part of your tax burden. I, personally, am only important in the life of my family. I have two young daughters and a wife. When I was a small boy my father told me that some day I would have such a family. My father said that, through hard work, I should be able to give them more than he was able to give me, but he warned me to only purchase what I could afford. As I matured from boyhood into manhood, I learned the difference between a purchase and an investment. I am from very humble beginnings, and have never lost sight of that. In times of financial uncertainty, such as we currently find ourselves, I tend to lean more towards investment than purchases.

    Our educators, and support staff, are the ones we charge with the well being of our next generation. From the time we put our children on the bus in the morning, until they are returned to us at night, we place our trust in these people. The future of our greatest gifts, our children, should not be taken lightly. Ours is one of the best school districts in the country, and it is because of these dedicated people. They have proven to deserve our investment, however, our investment in them needs to be sustainable. A better facility means nothing without a better educator, an able maintenance staff, a safe bus driver, a caring caféteria worker, or an efficient office worker. In this economy, the taxpayer can barely afford this investment. There simply is no room left for additional expenditures, that do not directly relate to education. Cost of living adjustments, for our senior citizens, have not kept up with tax increases. Working families, are finding themselves caught between the lines of basic sustainability, and a poverty level that would allow for government assistance. The elderly and the child sometimes go without proper nutrition. This economy has greatly impacted everyone's quality of life. We have continuously been asked to do more with less, but even the camels back eventually breaks.

    When our nation declared it's Independence we stated our belief that all people were created equal. Our constitution was written to form a more perfect union by establishing justice, insuring tranquility, promoting our general welfare, and to secure the blessings of liberty. When I took office I swore an oath on this constitution. I believe each child's educational needs should be met regardless of circumstance, and that no child's individuality, regardless of what that individuality encompasses, should be discriminated against. I believe that this can be accomplished without placing an undue burden upon the taxpayer, and in keeping the principals of my oath.

    I seek re-election to a four-year term on the Delaware Valley School Board. If you feel I would be a competent voice on that board, I ask your support. Jack O'Leary