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Dallastown school board
Two candidates are running for one seat on the region 1 school board of Dallastown Area School District in the 2015 Primary election on Tuesday, May 19.
The York Dispatch asked them to answer three questions and provide basic bio information to help voters with their selection.
Their responses are:
Anthony J. Pantano (R/D)
Hilary Trout (R/D)
Age/Family: 48/Husband Andy Trout, 3 children (2 at Dallastown Area High School and 1 at Dallastown Area Middle School)
Education: Graduate of York Suburban High School, Graduate of University of Maryland with a B.S. in Marketing
Community organizations with which you are active: I am an active volunteer in the Dallastown Area School District. I currently serve as the PTO President at the Dallastown Area Middle School. I also help out when I can with the activities with which my children are involved.
Questions and answers
1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the school district's performance at baalancing educational wants and needs, balancing the good of the students and the good of the taxpayers? Explain why you give the district that rating.
Pantano: No response.
Trout: The Dallastown Area School District has maintained the same tax rate for five years. Yet, during this time, the district has carefully considered the good of the taxpayers and has made it a priority to streamline, improve, trim, and re-configure where appropriate and possible. The district has also carefully considered the good of the students. Again, the district has made some alterations where possible, but not to the detriment of our students. In fact, just the opposite. As a current member of the school board, I have seen just how carefully student programs are researched, vetted, planned, and executed. It is a constant process. Decisions are not made lightly. But careful consideration is given to how to balance the needs of the students to provide a safe, challenging, and relevant learning environment that inspires and creates pathways for student success. It is for these reasons that I would give the Dallastown Area School District a rating of a 9 in this area. I think the district does a great job; however, I believe the world is constantly evolving and there is always room for improvement.
2. Specify a major issue facing the school district and explain how you think the school district should address that issue.
Pantano: No response.
Trout: As with many Pennsylvania school districts, I believe a major issue facing Dallastown is pension funding. The costs are increasing each year. As a district, we certainly honor our employees and the arrangement made with PSERS. However, we all need to work together across the state to solve this challenge. With our constantly changing and highly competitive world, we need to fully prepare our students to continue on their life's path, being the best they can be. We have a limited amount of funding with which to do this. We need to constantly seek efficiencies. As explained above, it is a balance. The district must constantly re-evaluate and balance the needs of the community, valued employees, as well as the students.
3. Why did you decide to run for election this year and why do you think you're one of the best candidates for a school board seat?
Pantano: No response.
Trout: I am a strong advocate for public schools. As I've been settling into my school board role since taking the seat in December, I am deeply committed to the district's vision and mission. I feel that I am and will continue to contribute to the excellence of the district's educational programs. I am engaged in the various initiatives and issues that the board balances. During the past nine years, I've served on various executive boards at every level at schools in our school district. I feel that serving on the school board is a natural extension of my board service. In addition to my service on the various boards, I believe I bring multiple perspectives to my role: parent, taxpayer, and Board member – as well as bringing a student-centered focus to my work. Serving on the PTOs and assisting in the development of a district-wide Council of PTOs, along with having my own children attend Dallastown from Kindergarten through 12th grade has given me first hand knowledge of many of the challenges, issues, trends, and regulations that face public education today.