OPINION: Top School Board Election issues this year

With election season coming up, the Knight Crier takes an in-depth look at some of the most important issues in the school board election of this cycle.


Tyler Letcher

Current members of the school board, including Jonathan Kassa, Tina Stoll, Christian Fusco and Al Roesch are being challenged by newcomers to the board, including Jessie Bradica, Michael Kennedy, Frederick Froelich, and Harry Snyder.


One of the most poignant concerns for residents of North Penn with school-aged children is making sure that their kids are safe during the pandemic. While masks are currently mandatory in our schools, from elementary to high school, our school board, like many, has faced backlash from those who believe that masks are not the way forward. As school boards continue to make difficult decisions with local, state, and federal agencies to attempt to keep standards for health, the public should make an educated decision based on their actions.

The option for parents to choose the same virtual schooling or hybrid schooling models that were present for the last school year has been taken away during the 2021-22 school year. While this may make teachers’ and administrators’ lives easier, many families, parents, and students may wish to opt back into this model. According to Cengage’s Digital Learning Pulse Survey[1], 73% of students surveyed in the U.S. and Canada believed that some courses merited online learning better than a more traditional model.

Budget Philosophy

Another concern that many in the region share, even if they don’t have children in the district, is the district’s finances. While the district takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in taxes alone, including $175.9 million in 2019-20, the way it distributes its tax rates and spends its money can be seen as an issue for some. While not publicly available for record at the time of writing, in 2020 and 2021, the district spent approximately 8 million dollars on the Crawford Stadium renovation project at the high school, while in 2019-20, in addition to funding for the $22.4 million Knapp Elementary project being secured, only $3.5 million was spent on a combined “facilities acquisition, construction, and improvement services”, as reported in the district’s own audit for the 2019-20 school year. With safety issues in the main high school, serving the main population of the district, being apparent, such as outdated fire alarm systems without sprinklers in the majority of the building or an HVAC system that has been put together over the years with old parts, the question has to be asked whether or not the priority is being reached here.


While the money for Crawford Stadium has been stated to have come from a fund set up for the project beforehand, the question has been raised by many as to why other projects that would affect a wider population of students weren’t approved first for this fund. These projects include, but are not limited to, adding a modern A/C system to the high school and middle schools, renovating the middle schools, and getting rid of the “temporary” pods that have been there for decades, and general upkeep around the district.

As part of the projects slated for the middle schools and high school, one that has been planned for a while has been the move for 9th graders from the middle schools to the high schools. Typical school districts have elementary schools go from kindergarten to 5th grade, middle schools from 6th grade to 8th grade, and high schools from 9th grade to 12th grade, but our district has elementary go from K-6th, middle schools go from 7th-9th, and high school go from 10th-12th. This move would streamline the educational and age curve in our schools, and make our district more interconnected with other districts in the area.

Academic Programs

The transition from full-virtual or hybrid to an in-person teaching model has been difficult for many. From current Juniors who may have never been in the school before this year, to returning Seniors whose only experience with the school was half of their sophomore year, many are struggling to get back to normal. Having teachers, counselors and a support system on standby for these students are imperative to attempting to return to normalcy in schooling once again.

The controversy surrounding the rise of CRT, or Critical Race Theory, has drummed up recently among some who believe that it is unfair towards our nation, its history, and some people whom they believe it attacks. Our district isn’t immune to this, as well, as residents have believed the district to have applied some of the theory’s lessons in its teachings. While it is important for our district to stay with the times and update its curriculum, it also has to stay focused on not alienating its students.