Brandywine president: Small group ‘taking away from focus’

Published 5:21 am Thursday, February 12, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Brandywine Board of Education President James Curran gave his reaction to the recent failed attempt to recall him and other board members at a press conference on Wednesday
Due to a technicality on the petition forms, there were not enough validated signatures for a recall election.
There was minimum of 495 signatures required for an election and only 420 signatures were validated to recall Curran.
Curran began by saying the recall efforts have been a long and emotional process.
While Curran thinks there is only a small percentage of the community who is unhappy with the board, he doesn't think there is anything the board can now do to satisty those people.
He thinks it is important for the board to stay on course with plans for improvement for the future.
Curran does think a majority of the community is behind the board. He used the recent vote on the facility improvement bond, which passed by a margin of more than 2-to-1, as an example of that support.
The passage of the $14.4 million bond caused an increase in property taxes and Curran feels that may be another factor causing opposition to the board.
He said it is important to understand that the tax increase is going toward improving the future of Brandywine schools.
Interim superintendent Gary Campbell, who was also at the press conference, said there has been a need for facility improvement in Brandywine expressed in the community for the past 10 to 20 years.
Campbell said the Brandywine district has a $30 million facility problem and he thinks it was the appropriate decision to make strides toward those improvements.
Curran thinks the opposition has good intentions, but just a different point of view.
He stands behind the past decisions made by the board and doesn't think they have done anything wrong.
While questions of the moral character of former superintendent Dr. Gene Sweeney still linger, Campbell thinks it is important to start looking to the future.
With a school board election coming up in June, three of the current board members will be up for re-election: Cindy Benson, Michael Shelton and the newly appointed Rick Zache.
Curran is not up for re-election for another two years and said it is too early to make a decision on whether or not he will run for re-appointment.