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Marple Newtown School Board Votes In New President

A reorganization meeting was held on Monday, Dec. 3, for the Marple Newtown School Board.

NEWTOWN SQUARE–The Marple Newtown School Board voted in a new president at Monday night's reorganization meeting. Four-year school board director Kathryn Chandless replaced the seat formerly occupied by David McGinley.

McGinley has served as president of the Marple Newtown School Board for approximately six years. Chandless has served on the board as the chair of the Human Resources Committee last year.

School Board Director Rob Sack made a motion to appoint Chandless for board presidency. The motion was approved 7-2 with School Board Directors McGinley and John McDevitt voting against the motion. 

"I want to also say 'thank you' to Dave [McGinley] because he has worked tirelessly as president and he did fantastic things...and I really do appreciate that," said Chandless. 

School Board Director Fred Dewey congratulated Chandless and addressed the public, "Tonight was the first time this board could take concrete action to show that we heard you last Tuesday and a seven-person majority showed you that we acknowledge your concerns."

A couple of former school board directors also addressed the board with the new appointment and thanked McGinley for his dedicated leadership to the district.

"I want to thank all the members of the past board and present board that brought this [Marple Newtown High School renovations project] into fruition, especially Dave McGinley, who has was board president, he was the guy that got the project moving, brought folks in, and got it started," stated Newtown Township Supervisor Ed Partridge. "And John McDevitt who has spent a year and a half of his life on a daily basis up at the high school. Thanks to the board members and administration–great job."

Former School Board Director Dana Kauffman congratulated Chandless and also addressed McGinley for his years of service, who served as president on the board for four years while Kauffman served. 

"I agree with Ed [Partridge]. I really think you [McGinley] had a vision on how to get a project moving, how to get it finished, and I'm not sure it would've hit the date if it weren't for you," said Kauffman. "It was really a pleasure and honor to have the front-row seat to watch you do what you did."

Chandless stated a couple of her main and immediate goals as president will be to assess the capital needs in the district as well as the $70 million budget.

"We need to obviously assess what our needs are and there is always a need. We need to come up with a priority list. We need to make sure we spend money in the right place and what's right for the kids and the district" said Chandless about capital improvements in the district.

She continued, "The budget is always an issue. The parents need to know need to know the issues before we come to vote. I want the board to work together with the parents and the district on the budget through focus groups."

In addition, Nancy Galbraith, 12-year and four-term school board director, was re-elected as vice president 8-1 with McDevitt holding the lone nay. Galbraith's seat will be up for grabs next year and confirmed with Marple Newtown Patch that she will not running in next year's election.

"It's time. I promised my husband that when he retires, I'll retire. That was our promise. And he just retired. But I'll still be involved and sit here in the audience," said Galbraith after the meeting.

The other seats up for re-election next year include McGinley, Chandless, McDevitt, and Jim Lanzalotto, who was appointed by the board to temporarily replace the vacant seat of former School Board Director and current Newtown Township Solicitor Richard Sokorai.

david mcginley December 04, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Over the past several years the Marple Newtown School District has worked extremely hard to bring back "Marple Pride". The districts saving account has grown from under $300,000 to over $5,000,000, the capital reserve fund is presently at about $2,500,000, a new high school has been built, a new administration building has been built, after a rotating door of superintendents- MNSD has had the same superintendent for the last eight years, a new teachers contract has been agreed upon and the morale of the staff is at an all time high. This has all been accomplished by careful budgeting-MNSD taxes have remained among the most favorable in the area. The board has worked hard and the results show. Being a board member has been an honor and extremely rewarding until now. Recently our local politicians decided that they should be controlling the board. The politicians have become involved in the hiring process and most recently in the board's reorganization. John McDevitt's tireless efforts assuring the completion of the new high school project,the comletion of the new administration building and the signing of a new contact with the teachers union are just a few of the reasons he should have been elected the new president of the board. He has no hidden agenda and his main objective is the children in the district.
John McDevitt December 04, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I was a "nay" and I like to reiterate my support for instrumental music 100%. I stand firmly behind the program. Always have and always will. I hope the realigned board and its leadership does as well. They heard your voice last Tuesday but most have not commented. This is going to be a much tougher budget process with the most recent data then I once thought.
Walt December 05, 2012 at 03:01 PM
With all of these projects now "completed", maybe the SAT scores will stop their slide that has occurred over the past 5 years. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Good luck to Kathryn.
Dawn December 05, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Thank you for your tireless efforts in increasing the fund balance and accomplishing so many projects that our community has to be proud of now. I appreciate your service and hope you both will continue to lead and be a voice. Politics should be left at the door and the focus should be on the children and the concerns of each directors' constituents that elected them.

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