This time, I'm on the school board ballot

| 23 Apr 2015 | 03:37

    To the Editor:
    I am excited to announce that I am running again for the Delaware Valley school board — only this time my name is on the ballot!

    I've lived in Dingmans Ferry 18 years where I've made a home with my husband Mike and three boys. My oldest went through the Delaware Valley School District kindergarten through 12 grade and is working locally after being honorably discharged from the US Navy's Nuclear program. My other two boys, in first and second grade, entered our family through adoption. Both boys have special needs. My youngest spent several weeks in a hospital by himself before entering a foster home and ultimately our home. It broke my heart to learn that this little boy had been given up on, which leads me to the basic principal of my candidacy, that is, I don't want to see any child given up on.

    I've seen the pain of parents who felt our district gave up on their children who did not fit into a typical mold while also hearing from parents whose children left DV with AP courses under their belt only to struggle in a higher education venue. We need to and can do better!

    I enjoy being an active member of the community and currently sit on the board of A Precious Gift Adoption Resource Center, the Right to Education Local Task Force and the Delaware Township Planning Commission. I have volunteered in the organization of community events, have been a camp counselor, cub scout leader, children's choir director and recording secretary for an economic development committee.

    Professionally, I am a Portfolio Property Manager, managing several residential communities ranging from homeowner associations and townhomes to high rise cooperative buildings. As a residential manager I understand what it takes to work with, and for, people of very diverse backgrounds and personalities. I run board meeting and elections, manage RFP process, contract negotiations, work and change orders, and oversee all aspects of building and site construction projects. I create and administer several multi-million dollar budgets, process insurance claims, and have been instrumental in obtaining multi-million dollar mortgages. Prior to working in the community management field, I worked for a land development company and was responsible for obtaining state and local approvals for construction, DCA approvals and compliance, and certificate of need for a nursing home. I am proud to stand up for what I believe in and I'm not willing to change who I am for any political process. I am a Republican with strong fiscal conservative values and I am proud to have the support of my Democratic neighbors who understand that our school board reaches beyond a political party. School Board directors cross file as both Democrat and Republican in Pennsylvania because the education of our youngest citizens and the taxing capacity of our district is a common goal. I believe the premise that the school board must operate as a nonpartisan body to represent all taxpayers and residents of the district. I believe that every child, regardless of circumstance, disability, race, religion, orientation or ability deserves to be respected and given the tools they need to succeed in our local district and beyond. I believe in true transparency, not just the illusion of it. I am known to sit back and absorb what is going on around me but then, I will speak up for or against what I believe to be true and always balance decisions with ethical standards.

    When I ran as a write-in candidate two years ago, I was vocal regarding my objection to building a new school and the expansion of the current DV campus in these tough economic times. Our districts enrollment has fallen off sharply over the last few years. I believe it is irresponsible for our district to put money into upgrades when we have plenty of areas in need of improvement and attention. We are turning away students each year who want to be in the Career Tech program, a program that is in sorry shape when compared to surrounding districts. The number of special needs children in our district continues to grow and we are ill prepared for it. These kids will likely stay in our community long after they graduate or age out of high school. We need to be sure we are giving the Career Tech minded and special needs children what they need to succeed. If we don�t invest in these kids now, the kids who are likely to stay locally beyond high school, then we are sure to pay for them later through social programs and even the county judicial system. I say this as the parent of two special needs boys, having talked with many other parents in similar situations, including some who�s children have gone astray.

    We need to teach our children by example. We need to show them what it means to make the best of what you have and that you can work through diversity to do great things! I understand that the school board is limited in some ways having been locked into prior board determined contracts and government regulations, but believe that by informing the public honestly and opening up clearer information paths, our schools can be a driving force to bring families back to our District.

    I promise that a vote for me on May 19 will be a vote for sensible leadership, common sense decision making, fiscal accountability, transparent board operations and respect. Respect for our district families, teachers, and senior citizens. A vote for me will affirm your agreement with me that no child should be given up on.

    I invite anyone interested in supporting my campaign or who has questions about my candidacy to contact me at or 570-828-7128. Follow me at and

    Dawn Bukaj
    Dingmans Ferry