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Candidacy announcements for the
 Fairfield School Board

Gregory Murray

I would like to introduce myself to the Fairfield Area School District. My name is Gregory Murray. I have been a resident of Carroll Valley for 16 years and I have a Grandson in Fairfield Elementary.

I feel that my previous experience as a business owner, union negotiator, and school volunteer uniquely qualifies me to help remedy some of these problems.

Having been a business owner I dealt with: payroll, taxes, licenses, 3 state agencies and customer relations. I have experience in negotiating contracts with major international corporations and union representatives. I have always been able to contribute to agreements that benefit both sides of the table.

As a school volunteer for the last 3 years I have been in touch, on a weekly basis, with some of the concerns of the teachers and students. As a retired member of the Carroll Valley and Fairfield community I am also well aware how paying taxes on a fixed income can be a hardship.

There are a lot of daunting issues facing the next elected school board but with the involvement of the community and respectful dialog from the board I feel these hurtles can be overcome. Because I feel so very strongly regarding these issues and am confident that I can be an intricate part in helping to solve them, I would like to announce my candidacy for a seat on the Fairfield Area School Board.

I humbly ask for your support in the May 19th primary. If you find me worthy I pledge to you to be completely transparent with your concerns and to serve the community with no preconceived agendas.

Kelly Mays

My name is Kelly Mays and I am thrilled to formally announce my candidacy for School Board Director of Fairfield Area School District. As a resident of the Fairfield community for nearly 18 years, I would deeply appreciate an opportunity to give back in some small way to the community that has given so much to me.

I believe that a strong public school district is essential to the future of not only students, but the entire community. FASD has a proud history of educational excellence. I should know. I am a 2005 graduate of Fairfield High School; where I received a quality education that prepared me well for college. I now hold a Bachelorís of Social Work, thanks in large part to the fine caliber of teachers and staff at Fairfield. I would like very much to see that same opportunity is given to each and every student.

The most important function of a school board director is to advocate for the best interest of the students. As our District motto states, ďStudents First!Ē I want my community to know that I can be trusted with this precious responsibility. Not only am I a long time resident of this area and a graduate of FASD, but I am also the parent of a kindergarten student as well as an active volunteer in the elementary school and a frequent participant in the elementary PTO.

This community deserves a school board that will invite you to the table, meet you with transparency and honesty, and represent your interests. Our children deserve a standard of education that will allow them to succeed. Our taxpayers deserve to have their money allocated fairly and responsibly without undue burden. I am asking you, my friends and neighbors, for a chance to do my part.

For more information or to pledge your support, I can be reached via email at maysforfasd@gmail.com or you can find me on facebook at Kelly Mays for FASD School Board.

Ian Strahler

My name is Ian Strahler and I am officially announcing my candidacy for School Board Director of Fairfield Area School District. My decision to run for school board was not made on a whim. I have been a resident of the Fairfield community for over thirty years. I was raised in this community, graduated from, and attended every grade in the Fairfield Area School District (FASD). Several members of my family are currently, or have been, educators. I am also a parent of one, soon to be two, students at FASD. My family made the decision to return to this area, from a neighboring school district, in order for our children to attend FASD. I know firsthand the extremely high level of quality education that is provided by this school district. Because of this exceptional learning experience, I was well prepared for college and life beyond the classroom when I graduated. I want this same level of education to be available for my children. Not to mention, I am proud to be a member of such an incredible community.

I realize that being a School Board Director is not a glamorous position. There are many difficult decisions that have to be made and addressed, while maintaining the best interests of our students and district. Letís be honest, no one wants our students to suffer because the finances are not available to provide for them, or to lose highly qualified educators due to a lack of support, and supporting our school should not be a burden to our community. We all want what is best for our students and our community. The responsibility to achieve this balance lies on the board of directors.

This may seem like daunting or overwhelming amount of responsibility. It does not have to, and in fact it should not feel this way. An open, constructive dialog among well informed and educated board members, along with complete transparency between the board and our community, can easily lead to accomplishing even the most difficult tasks. This is what our school and community deserves and this is what you should demand. The bottom line is we all have to work together.

I have always considered myself an active member of our community. I have spent many enjoyable hours coaching AYSO soccer, volunteering in the school and community, and through our church activities. I would consider it an honor and a privilege to serve on our School Board and to help give back to a town that has given so much to me. To accomplish this, I am seeking your support and help. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at ianforfasd@gmail.com.

Becky Bequette

My name is Becky Bequette and I am excited to announce my candidacy for School Board Director of Fairfield Area School District (FASD). I am grateful to have this opportunity to give back to an amazing school district and to the area community.

The responsibilities of a School Board Director are twofold. First and foremost, a director is to advocate for an excellent public school education. FASD has been a model of excellence in education, drawing families to move to the surrounding communities in past years. I want to see that greatness come back and continue. I have two children studying at Fairfield High School, and as a family, we have been involved - as participants and volunteers - in many aspects of the school such as girls' soccer, wrestling, track and field, theater, band, chorus, special education and gifted education. We highly value the education and experiences that FASD gives students.

The second job of a School Board Director is to be a responsible steward of public funds. My particular experience includes a degree in Accounting, a Master degree in Business Administration, twelve years of experience in corporate accounting and finance, including two years in budgeting. I also have over nine years of experience as a professional tax preparer, which gives a unique insight into how economic trends, such as property tax and educational expenses, affect individual households. I have the education, experience, and tools to effectively manage decisions regarding public funds.

So what do I stand for? I want a good solid public education for every student, no matter if they are on track for a four-year college degree or a well-trained trade. I want opportunities for our students to continue a well-rounded education including music and art. I want students to leave Fairfield ready to take on the challenges of their next phase in life. And I want to be as fiscally responsible as possible to make this happen while balancing property taxes and property values. It is time for a school board that holds to their responsibilities – public education and public fund stewardship. Over the coming months I will be submitting articles to share with you my thoughts and priorities for the School District. To learn more about me, visit me on Facebook at BeckyforFASD.


Becky Bequette

 (2/22) As I'm writing this, it's been three weeks since I announced my candidacy for Fairfield Area School District (FASD) School Board Director, and I've found it to be an interesting time. I have taken advantage of several opportunities including attending the "Toss Your Hat into the Ring" class taught by Penn State extension, asking questions of local elected officials, and advice both asked for and not.

One piece of advice that stuck out for me was called "27-9-3". This stands for 27 words, nine seconds, three points. That is the number of words, amount of time and number of points that it should take to explain to someone why they should vote for you. In other words, it's a sound bite. To be perfectly honest, I fail miserably at getting my points down to 27 words. I do talk fast, so the nine seconds is still a possibility.

It is difficult to summarize the issues involved with the local schools and the surrounding community in such a short spiel when the reality is very complicated. I have already seen the coming Fairfield election distilled down to "pro-spenders" versus "anti-taxers." In reality, school funding and spending are complex issues that go beyond property taxes. This is the part where, as a former financial analyst, I started getting into the facts and numbers regarding FASD. Boring perhaps, but the facts are important when weighing election-time claims. While I have to keep it to 600 words in this article, my full analysis will be posted as a blog entry on my website BeckyforFASD.com.

In the months leading up to the May primaries and then the November municipal election, you, as the voter, are going to be inundated with information from both the incumbents and those seeking change in the district. It is my hope that you will look at the information presented and determine whether it is true or just rhetoric. There are sources available to help. The website for FASD, www.fairfieldpaschools.org, contains minutes from all board and committee meetings. You can also review the audited financial statements and audit presentation there. Also, at my website, under "Facts," I will be providing helpful source documents and links.

As I stated, pro-tax versus anti-tax is not only simplistic, it is not what this school district needs. A candidate who wishes to raise taxes only because he or she can is not an asset. A candidate who says "no new taxes ever" without reason is unrealistic. The Fairfield Area Schools need candidates who can look at the financial situation of both the school and the community, recognize and prioritize needs (as opposed to "wants"), and keep a balanced view with both students and taxpayers in mind.

I am that type of candidate. Like many of you, I am a parent, a property owner and a taxpayer. Meeting the needs of our students and the community is my primary goal and my education and experience have prepared me to be a responsible steward of public funds and assets. If you, too, value a high-quality education for local students and responsible stewardship of school funding, I hope you will be voting for me in the May primaries.

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