Patch will post profiles on each candidate running for school board in alphabetical order by last name.
RUSSELL S. BLEILER, 47, a 14-year Horsham resident, received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Moravian College in 1988 and a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Temple University Dental School.
Bleiler has served for eight years on the school board, three years as vice president and the last year as president.
What best qualifies you for a term on the Hatboro Horsham School Board?
I have maintained the high quality of education our children, parents, teachers and taxpayers are accustomed to in a safe/healthy environment. While maintaining the high quality of education, we have also enjoyed some of the lowest taxes in the county. We have never gone above the Act 1 index.
What do you see as big issues facing the district?
Continuing to provide quality education while maintaining low taxes. Continued growth to instructional and non-instructional programs to address students' needs, prepare them for success.Address our aging facility needs with the challenges of declining enrollment and the potential of increasing enrollment from new housing developments and the air base redevelopment.
If elected, how would you work to handle those issues?
By working closely with the administration and board members to maintain the high level of educational excellence, while keeping local taxes as low as possible to all of our citizens. Over the last 10 years, our tax increases have been one of the lowest in the county and Philadelphia region.
The appearance of nepotism seems to have been at play in at least one recent district hiring. How would you work to find and consider the best candidates?
Of 872 Hatboro-Horsham School District employees, one support staff and one contracted employee is related to a board member. Our district has an extensive recruiting, screening, interviewing process to secure the best employees.
It is my responsibility to review the district's hiring policies and participate in hiring for permanent positions.
Should the district enact anti-nepotism legislation? Why or Why not?
All of our policies and procedures are reviewed and updated on a regular basis. As a course of regular business related to policy reviews, as the current board president, I have requested that the administration begin researching nepotism policies for board discussion and consideration later this school year.
What is your vision for the new Hallowell Elementary School?
One of the first phases of the project is developing the educational specification. We are considering the following: Employing subtle security to protect students; classrooms facilitating student engagement, collaboration, as well as appropriate technology to extend learning beyond the classroom; providing opportunity for community use; and establishing a civic presence.
Should the district relocate from under-utilized schools to the new school or maintain the same number of elementary schools?
The decision will be made on the educational needs of our students with respect to the district's financial position to pay for construction and renovations. Several schools are aging; combined with the current trend of declining enrollment and the potential of future increasing enrollment, we must thoroughly study this issue.
Anything else you would like to add?
I enjoy working hard to make our school district one of the best educational systems in the state at the same time, maintaining fiscal responsibility and staying under the Act 1 index. I appreciate the opportunity to serve our great community.