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The Brownstone at Sunrise
1867 Susquehanna Road

(across from the YMCA)
Abington, PA 19001
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Abington-Rockledge
Democratic Committee

Attn: David Floyd, Treasurer
P.O. Box 132
Abington, PA 19001

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Nine candidates running for four school board seats

Abington School Board has four open seats this election season, with nine candidates running on both the Democratic and Republican tickets in the May 19 primaries.

Incumbents Jeffrey Bates, Jo Blumenthal, Raymond McGarry and Barry Stupine are running for re-election. Newcomers Joseph Denelsbeck, Stephen Kalinoski, Kerry Litvin, Maryanne Rickenbach and Adam Share are running in the primaries as well.

Share is running with an endorsement from the Abington Rockledge Democratic Committee, along with Bates, McGarry and Stupine. Share is an attorney who has lived in Abington for seven years, and has two students in the district’s schools.

Share said being an attorney has given him the thick skin needed for a position on the school board, the ability to listen and speak extemporaneously, as well as being able to weigh competing positions to reach a valid compromise.

Most of all, Share said, he wants to maintain the quality of the school district he has grown to admire.

“They’ve been very smart about paying attention to the elementary schools. They are virtually all new, and that attracts young families. My overall goal is to keep the township a desirable place to live in terms of having a strong school system,” Share said.

Another newcomer, Joseph Denelsbeck, is coming from the Rockledge Borough, and wants the borough to have more extensive representation on the board.

“Our community is diverse and the board should represent all of the areas and backgrounds in the district. The current board has no members from Rockledge,” Denelsbeck said.

Denelsbeck is an assistant principal who has lived in the school district for 43 years. He has been a member of the Rockledge Borough Council for 17 years, and serves as a volunteer for the Rockledge Fire Co.

Kerry Litvin, Stephen Kalinoski and Maryanne Rickenbach have also cross-filed for the primary as hopeful newcomers to positions on the board.

The president of the board, Raymond McGarry, is running for re-election. The Jenkintown attorney said he is proud of the awards that Abington has received in the last year, referring to the township being named one of the best communities for young people by the organization America’s Promise, as well as being awarded a Bronze Medal for Abington Senior High by US News and World Report’s best high schools.

“We’re proud of our continued success. We’re looking forward to a zero percent tax increase for the first time in many years. This is going to be a great year,” McGarry said.

Jeffrey Bates is also running for re-election after finishing up his eighth year on the board. Bates, and Abington resident for 15 years, has had two children graduate from Abington High School and has one who is still there. He works as an attorney in Philadelphia and says it helps him navigate the legal issues the board has to deal with on a regular basis.

“Understanding the basic information of contracts and how they are carried out is helpful and understanding negotiations in general. It’s a skill that attorneys learn over time and there’s a lot of negotiating that goes along with being a school board member,” Bates said.

He said he wants to continue the success the district has seen so far, in academic achievement, construction and renovations to elementary schools and fiscal responsibility.

Barry Stupine, a former president and board member of nearly 16 years, also cited the new elementary schools as one of the board’s greatest accomplishments in his time. Stupine, the vice dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school, has two children who graduated from the Abington School District.

Stupine said he wants to continue to serve on the school board because, “I think me and my team can do it better than other people, and I don’t want to see my work go down the drain.”

Stupine cites property values in Abington resisting decrease in tough economic times. He said the school district plays a big part in maintaining property value, and combined with the board’s work to keep taxes low, Abington taxpayers are saving a lot of money.

The current school board also includes Jo Blumenthal, a retired teacher and Realtor, who is running for re-election after serving on the board for more than five years.

“My goals would be to provide the best education to each child. And especially in this economy, to do that we have to find more non-tax revenue. It’s also important to constantly keep an eye on what is going down in the state so we can be proactive in letting our legislators know how they impact the school district,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal has been living in Abington for 36 years, and both of her daughters attended district schools from kindergarten until high school graduation.

Being a teacher, she said, has fostered her love of education, especially public education, and has taught her how to help Abington students reach their full potential.

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