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Meet the Candidates: Chris Miller

Helping you to make an informed decision.

Age: 66

Residence: Bushkill Township

Do you have children in the district or relatives who work for the district? One grandchild currently in the district. No relatives who work for the district.

What is your political affiliation: Republican

Education:

  • 1962 graduate of Pen Argyl Area High School
  • Graduated from Moravian College in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history
  • From 1966 to 1967, I acquired 30 credit hours at East Stroudsburg University's Graduate School, but I did not finish my thesis because I started a teaching job in Bethlehem.
  • Took additional course work from 1993 to 1994 and received a master's degree in education.

Profession/Work Experience:

History teacher from 1967 to 1999 in the Bethlehem School District and taught Honors History from 1986 to 1994. Licensed Realtor since 1986, and I’m still educating people.

Community Service:

  • Member of the Bushkill Township Ambulance Corps.
  • Member of the Bushkill Township Lions Club (served as president and late treasurer).
  • Den leader for Cub Scouts.
  • Knights of Columbus member.

Why are you running for school board?

I want to provide a sound and solid education to all the children in the district in a fiscally responsible manner. If the taxpayer is not solvent, the district will disappear.

What qualifies you to serve on the board?

My 32 years with the Bethlehem School District and my job as a Realtor.

Education is an ongoing process no matter what age. In addition to that, I am very interested in politics and I realize that the biggest burden we face is the oppression of the federal and state governments on the school board. Due to the large sums involved with education today, we are finding our kids spending more time getting ready for the test then acquiring an education.

If elected, how would you balance the needs of students and taxpayers?

We need to look at what is essential and what we need to get rid of if we are going to maintain a policy of offering a solid education for the kids. At the same time we cannot expect to milk the taxpayer for all he is worth. To do so would cause the death knell of our educational system.

What areas of curriculum, programs and/or district operations would you like to see improved and how? (Please be as specific as possible)

I like programs that are built on one another.

When I went to Bethlehem our 7th grade history course was the history of Bethlehem in the first semester and the history of Pennsylvania was the second. Both local histories that cause a lot of interest. We then went to American History in 8th grade from the founding to the Civil War. Unfortunately, the students did not pick up the second half until 11th grade. The history of other parts of the world was taught in between.

I’d also like to see a curriculum where the teachers would cooperate on a topic where I would teach American history, the English teacher would feature American writers for book reports, the science teacher would cover North American animals, and math teachers could do something like birth ratios of North American mammals.

As to programs, again we need to think twice before we spend money. We are talking high school sports where kids are suppose to have fun, not be in training for a college scholarship.

I think communities might want to consider creating clubs like they have in Europe.

Where do you think the district can reduce spending and/or save money? (Please be as specific as possible)

The district needs to make sure that they do not consider grandiose building projects. I would also suggest that instead of offering benefits, I would offer money so that employees can get their own benefits. I would think that adults,  given that they buy homes and cars, select life insurance and make lots of choices on a daily basis, can certainly do the same with health benefits. They might be able to put their own co-op together.

Most of all, I would look at the funded and unfunded mandates and then get a larger broom and go after those in government who initiate these things.

As to the staff, do we have non-essential personnel? Yes. Should we dismiss them? Probably.

What one thing would you most like to accomplish if elected to the board?

I want to see more people at the meetings but, more importantly, I want taxpaying representatives actively participating in the budget committee and at the table when contract time comes around. I also would like to see the publishing of what is occurring at the negotiating table.

Anything else you would like voters to know?

I want every kid in the district to leave school with a great education, smiling about their education and feeling confident about their future. I thoroughly enjoyed school as a student and as a teacher. But I hear too many kids telling me that it is boring. More importantly, I hear teachers who are tired of prepping for tests and not, in their mind, being able to teach.

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