Four N.J.-S.P. School Board Candidates Interviewed by Railroad Township Board

posted Jun 15, 2017, 8:21 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library
Posted on June 15, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI 

The Railroad Township Board heard from four candidates Tuesday who’d like to represent the township on the North Judson-San Pierre School Board.

Cassandra Hine is an attorney specializing in family law. She told board members she’s seen the effect the local school corporation has on the community. “Actually, I currently have a case where a mom lives here in San Pierre, and her former significant other lives in Valparaiso, and a guardian ad litem was involved in the case, and did an evaluation of who should have custody of this child,” Hine said. “And one of the factors in her evaluation in ruling for the father to have custody of a two-year-old girl was the Valparaiso school systems far exceed the school systems here in this county.”

Megan Korous has two children at N.J.-S.P. When it comes to deciding how to prioritize taxpayer money, she said it’s important to adjust to students’ unique learning styles while preparing them for the workforce. “I think we need to look at different types of teaching and making sure that all children are being taught to how they learn, and making sure that there are classes available for not only those kids that are high learners, if you will, but also the kids that maybe are more hands-on, book work isn’t for them, but they need something after high school,” she said.

Susan McCormack has prior experience serving on a school board. She said her six years on the LaPorte School Board have prepared her for just about anything that could come up at N.J.-S.P. “LaPorte Community School Corporation is a much bigger corporation than this,” she said. “So I’m hoping that this would not be as big of a job as that was, and believe me, it was a big job. We had 10 board members and two alternates, and we went through the process of replacing the superintendent three times, and I served as board president, as well as a couple of other positions on the board.”

Deb Wappel is a former N.J.-S.P. teacher. She’s been following the school board for the past couple years and has been looking for ways to get more involved with the corporation. “I have applied many times at the schools,” she said. “Most recently, I met with the school board president and vice-president and offered to work for the school system for one dollar a year, as a communications manager/director/liaison because there have been many, many bad feelings in the community because of the referendum and the elected school board thing. So I’ve done everything I can to try to help, and I feel like this may be my last effort and chance to make the difference.”

When asked how they’d deal with complaints from angry parents, Korous, McCormack, and Wappel all said they’d refer them to school staff first to go through the proper chain of command. Hine said she would gather all the facts, and address concerns in public, during a school board meeting. However, most of the candidates emphasized the importance of listening to parents’ concerns.

When it came to how they’d prioritize money, Korous and Wappel both talked about increasing vocational training, while Hine opposed sacrificing arts and sports programs for the sake of boosting test scores.

The Railroad Township Board will meet Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. at the old San Pierre Elementary School to appoint a new school board member. That person will replace current N.J.-S.P. School Board President Pat Goin.