The Jan. 6 vote by the Kutztown School Board to appoint Christine Ryan as the representative for the Albany/Greenwich/Lenhartsville district was unfortunate on a few levels but most glaringly it denied residents in these townships their voice on the school board.
While the late withdrawal of candidate Jenny Clay resulted in the obligation of the board to appoint a board member, the clear choice of the people for an alternate was demonstrated in the 329 write in votes cast for Jennifer Shumaker. After the election, 172 residents signed a petition requesting the board honor their choice at the ballot box.
The board ignored their request, voting 6-2 for Ryan with only Carl Ziegler and Jim Shrawder supporting the residents choice of Jennifer Shumaker.
Ryan, a teacher and union member in the Hamburg School District (editor’s note: Ryan also teaches Integrating the Arts in the PreK -Grade 4 Curriculum at Kutztown University), joins two retired teachers and a current KU professor to pack the board with union sympathizers.
When presented with facts regarding KASD having the highest educational costs per student in Berks County, amounting to approximately $250,000 per student to graduate, Ryan elected not to answer directly but indicated she was not adverse to increased spending.
Shumaker, a master’s degree nurse, raised in a farming family, a lifelong resident of the district with children currently in school, and having experience with cyber school and business, offered a well rounded perspective to the board and an understanding of the needs of the community.
Perhaps the problem was that Shumaker is also a fiscal conservative.