The seventh installment of our series of interviews with school director candidates across the state brings us to the Rose Tree Media School District.
Dean Dreibelbis is running for school director in the Rose Tree Media School District, located in Delaware County. He is a registered Republican and works as a project manager.
Why are you running for school board?
“I recognize that the school district is sliding into trouble, and the incumbent school board is not questioning, investigating, or suggesting improvements. The current board is completely captured by the district’s administration and has unanimously approved almost 100 percent of all votes. There was one vote that was passed by only 7–2. The board needs to have new voices, debate, and input from the community.”
What are the most important issues facing your district?
“There are several important issues facing our district.
“First, academic proficiency is decreasing. The longer students are in the district, the worse they perform. We should focus on the problems with the 11th grade Keystone exams and not exclusively on elementary reading and math. The district’s educational equity program and mainstreaming may be a cause of the academic decline. This needs to be investigated and debated.
“Student surveys report more anxiety and lack of challenging school work. This could be caused by drug use in the high school, transgenderism, sexually explicit instruction, and/or featured library books. This, too, needs to be investigated and debated. The incumbent school directors have not questioned or discussed any of these issues.
“The board continues to approve gratuitous annual real estate tax increases, despite multi-million dollar surpluses every year. These surpluses are enough to forego the following year’s planned expenditures increase. They are abusing the spirit of Act 1 (the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2006) by taking near its declared index maximum allowed without requiring the public to vote on it, whether it is needed or not. In fact, they set their proposed budget based on how much tax revenue they can easily take, rather than planning for what they need.
“Tax revenue has increased from $71,188,048 since the 2018–2019 school year when this board took over to a projected $93,980,091 for 2023–2024. This resulted in an overall increase of $22,792,043, an incredible 32 percent increase in just four years. From 2019 to 2022, the district’s auditor reported budget surpluses totaling $20,121,955. Almost all of the tax increases were unnecessary for school operations!”
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
“My career has been in Information Technology, primarily working with Fortune 100 companies. Since 2016, I have worked as a senior project manager on large, multi-million dollar, international projects. I am experienced with dealing with complex systems with multiple factors affecting progress and achievement. I have learned to track trends of performance, contrast comparable entities’ progress with the same factors, seek advice from experienced people outside of the organization, and forcefully bring proposals to the discussion which are supported by this data, peers’ performances, and sage counsel.”
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
“I have not run for political office previously and do not intend to make a political career from this school director position. I just want to “make the right things [begin to] happen” in Rose Tree Media School District, as Horace Mann phrased the purpose of a school board.”
Are you running with other candidates?
“Yes, there are five school director positions up for election this year, and I am running with a slate of four other candidates. We are conducting our campaign jointly, running under the group Make the Right Things Happen.”
What is the most important role of the school board in your opinion?
“The most important role of the school board is to bring the representation of the community, parents, and students to discussions of school district proposals by:
- Questioning the status of school operations and performance.
- Offering differing perspectives to the districts’ proposals.
- Ensuring the school superintendent is doing a good job for the entire community and seek a better candidate for superintendent if he/she is not.”
We contacted the Democratic and Republican committees in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties and asked them to share the questions above with their school director candidates. Broad + Liberty will post the responses throughout the summer to assist voters in learning about the candidates running in their district. The series is open to any school director on the ballot in November. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty