By Leslie Krowchenko, Times Correspondent
Voters will be asked to choose among four incumbents and two first-timers in the May 19 primary for the five available seats on the Marple Newtown School Board.
Directors Leonard Altieri, Matt Bilker, Matt Catania and Nick Reynolds and newcomers Michael Donnelly and Stavroula Kotrotsios are seeking the four-year terms. Incumbent Rob Sack has chosen not to seek re-election. All are Republican, and the Marple Newtown Democratic Party did not draft any candidates, said Chairperson Claude Falcone.
Altieri and Catania are residents of Newtown; Bilker, Donnelly, Kotrotsios and Reynolds live in Marple. All but Donnelly have cross-filed and are endorsed by the Marple and Newtown Republican parties.
The five candidates with GOP backing are running on the same platform — commitment to maintaining music, arts, other specials and athletic programs, supporting teachers and welcoming parent feedback to help improve all district programs and activities and conservatively managing the budget.
A 2008 graduate of Marple Newtown High School, Altieri, 26, is a law student at Drexel University. He was appointed in February 2013 to complete the term of Fred Dewey, then elected to a two-year term later that year.
In response to requests for increased communication with residents, Altieri created a Facebook page to provide operational information, highlight accomplishments and provide a format for exchange of ideas. As chair of the curriculum, instruction and technology committee, he revamped the structure to include monthly presentations focused on specific curriculum.
“We have kept taxes low while increasing services and programs and have seen continued growth as it relates to test scores and state ranking,” said Altieri. “I want to spend the next four years continuing to build on this success.”
Bilker, 29, an attorney, was appointed to the board in August 2014 following the resignation of Nancy Galbraith. He and his wife, Kelly, have two young children.
The vice president and chair of the Human Resources and Policy Committee, Bilker cited the accomplishments of the students and district and the goal of mentoring other districts to share the success. He noted he has conducted an analytical examination of the budget to ensure funds are being spent in a way “that the district will reap the benefits.”
“I am a graduate of Marple Newtown High School and remember how critical it is to give our students the opportunity to be well-rounded,” said Bilker. “I am committed to investing not only in our ‘in-the-classroom” education, but also in other programs, while examining how our community’s tax dollars are spent.”
A lifelong township resident, Catania, 28, is an assistant district attorney in Delaware County. He was appointed in July 2014 to complete the unexpired term of Jim Lanzalotto.
Reynolds, 34, was appointed in March following the resignation of Sherry-Lee McAuliffe. He works as an energy consultant and he and his wife, Alana, have three children, the oldest of whom is a student at Russell Elementary School.
“I’m proud to have been an educator in our district and as a lifelong resident of both Newtown and Marple, it’s a privilege and honor for me to represent my family, neighbors and our community as a school director,” said Reynolds. “I look forward to focusing on the student experience by continuing to improve our facilities and promoting ‘Tiger Pride.’”
A 13-year township resident, Kotrotsios is an assistant district attorney in Delaware County. She and her two sisters were students in the district.
“As a graduate of Marple Newtown High School, I am very excited to run for school board director and have the opportunity to give back to my community and the school district,” said Kotrotsios. “Education is the key to success and it is my goal to help create a school system that ensures the development and future success of the students.”
Donnelly could not be reached for comment.