I won the forum for candidates for the Reading School Board yesterday hosted by the League of Women Voters and broadcast by Berks Community Television. Rebroadcasts of the forum may be viewed on BCTV’s website: (http://www.bctv.org/). Seven candidates participated out of ten seeking five seats for four-year terms and one candidate seeking the two-year term.
In addition to the points I made in my address last month to the Reading School Board of Directors, http://williamcinfici.blogspot.com/2015/04/cinficis-address-to-2015-reading-school.html, in which I praised the current Board for continuing some of the initiatives of the prior Board, onto which I was appointed to serve for its last seven months, and criticized the majority of the new Board for failing to consider numerous proposals to improve fiscal controls, reduce wasteful spending and increase the collection of revenue and even for regressing in terms of openness and transparency and for failing its fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers by not conducting proper oversight of the School District Administration, I offered my record as an experienced reformer who knew what progress the District needs to make and how to accomplish it.
Specifically, I cited my efforts to enhance the District’s fiscal controls, reduce wasteful spending and increase the collection of revenue, while increasing openness and transparency, all of which helped the District to balance the budget for five years, with millions of dollars of surplus—without raising taxes, while also making significant improvements to safety and security. I noted that unless the voters return some of us former School Directors to the Board, there will be no one with more than two years of experience serving on it.
I also criticized the majority of the Board for raising real estate taxes—to the maximum extent allowed by law—and for not following the Board’s own hiring policies to prevent not only the Board, but the Administration, from engaging in nepotism or cronyism.
A few other accomplishments during my service on the Board from 2005-2009 and 2013 that I mentioned during the form were the conflict of interest policy I crafted that the Board adopted, the Reading-Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center (CTC) adult school program, my use of the bully pulpit and direct lobbying of state legislators of both parties and chambers for real estate tax reform, and my efforts at increasing public awareness of the various programs and extracurricular opportunities for students, such as the CTC and the District’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which is the largest in the United States.
In addition to the two candidates running with me, even several of my opponents agreed with a number of my points. I thanked the League and BCTV for the forum and asked the voters to return me to the Reading School Board to avail it of my experience as a reformer and my ability to help the Board conduct adequate oversight of the Administration to fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Reading.