(Patch is posting profiles of each of the candidates who responded to our questions).
ERIC STERN, 53, a Democrat, has been a Bensalem resident since 1988. He holds a BA degree from Temple University and an MS degree from Drexel University.
He is past president of the Bucks County Road Runners and was race director for the Bucks County Duathlon, Robert Massaroni Memorial 5K.
Stern serves on the board of Just for the Kids Educational Foundation.
What best qualifies you for a term on the Bensalem Township School Board?
I started my career in vocational education before moving into the business sector. The combination of my early experiences in education and my business experience plus a strong commitment to community service and education make me qualified to be a school board member.
What do you see as the big issues facing the district?
The biggest issue is one of credibility. Student test scores need to be improved. There has been mismanagement and lacking administration and school board oversight as witnessed by the long-term employee theft. With this in mind, we are asked to trust decisions made with the spending of our tax dollars.
If elected, how would you work to handle those issues?
I want to make sure we have a system to hold school administration accountable, making sure the proper curriculum is in place and metrics are used to evaluate its effectiveness. I want to insure systems are in place to insure taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately and not wasted or stolen.
What’s your position on the plans to spend $78
million renovating Bensalem High School?
I cannot see spending $78 million to renovate without first addressing issues related to our schools’ foundation. Is the renovation going to improve student test scores and insure that proper controls will prevent future thefts? I’m not saying that renovations are not necessary, but we must address issues first.
The public seems to have a degree of distrust of public officials following the recent scandal involving Bensalem Township School District current and former employees. If elected, how would you work to rebuild trust?
Transparency. It is important for the public to see what steps we are taking to prevent future occurrence. The public needs to know what the findings were from the forensic audit, what action plans have been put in place regarding those findings and how activity will be monitored going forward.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Our current school administration and board wants to build a new house on a weak foundation. Before we start to raise taxes for the high school renovation, we need to address the weaknesses in the foundation and make it stronger. Otherwise, we’re just spending good money for the same results.