IASD CANDIDATE: Julia Trimarchi Cuccaro
Why vote for Julie Trimarchi Cuccaro?
“I’ve lived here all my life, I have done business here and I have a good bit of experience in education, serving on two other school boards in the last 10 years, one a high school and the other a university.
“I feel that has given me a very good idea of the education climate. As a small-business owner and someone who has worked with corporate boards, I feel it has given me a good idea of what the key issues are and the solutions and resolutions to our problems.”
On balancing the budget with revenue increases and spending cuts:
“It’s both. You absolutely have to make sure you’re not overspending and make sure every dollar counts.
“We also have to figure out how to raise revenues. At this juncture, I don’t think the tax base for the school district can handle higher taxes. It’s already a strain on many people’s family budgets, so we have to look at alternative sources of revenue rather than direct taxation.”
On where to spend or save money:
“I think we have a pretty darn good high school program and I think the junior high has a good program, too.
“That leaves the elementary school structure and it’s absolutely crucial. I think we really have to take a look at what is the best way to get these kids more and more involved. ...
“Something I’ve been privileged to work with is the Challenger program. I think that is an example, where you have private funding — not from local taxpayers — seeking a way in which we can better enhance the subjects in which these students are going to find their jobs.
On the board’s priorities in the next two years:
“The board must be extremely disciplined, and the money must be particularly well spent.
“It will require, in my opinion, more and more local taxpayer participation.
“There must be constant vigilance by the parents, the taxpayers, the grandparents and everybody else.
“People have to come in and say what they want … because the dollars are fewer and fewer that we have discretion over.”
On academic priorities:
“What impresses me the most about young students today is their ability to deal with technology.
“They can do anything on handheld devices and that’s a good thing.
“They are going to be working in those fields and are going to require high technology understanding. I personally loved the humanities, history, English, art, and I fully support those programs.”
On influencing the state of education:
“Our main responsibility is to be salespeople for the benefits of public education. The public deserves to get as much from their dollars as possible. Despite its problems it’s still the best in the world.
“Don’t take it lightly. You constantly address the students.”
Cuccaro is the chairwoman of an ad hoc committee that has explored the proposal to start a Challenger Learning Center in Indiana County.
“To me, this is a way that you begin to offer products with partnerships between private money and public money.
“You never give up the ship in public education, nor can you tax the daylights out of the local tax base.
“I feel now is the time for the public to participate more. Those meetings should be packed, every meeting. It’s your dollars they are spending, whether you have kids in the district is not material. If you own property, you’ve got to pay the ticket.”