Robert (Bob) Rafetto is running for school director in region 1 of the West Chester Area School District located in Chester County. He is a registered Republican and a retired entrepreneur and restaurateur.
Why are you running for school board?
When I reached retirement, I started looking for ways to share my professional wisdom and experience with my community. Just like the phrase “you can’t hurry love,” you cannot rush wisdom or experience that is necessary to lead. That is a portion of what I gained throughout my working career which I will bring to the board. Our board will benefit from a more meaningful diversity amongst the directors, which in turn benefits our students, administration, and staff.
What are the most important issues facing your district?
The parents and teachers that I have personally spoken with while campaigning have brought up a range of issues. A common thread I see is the disconnect between the board and the administration that frustrates the teachers. We have top notch people working for our district in both the administration and as our teachers. The missing ingredient is focused leadership from the board in overseeing the district administration.
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
I am an alumnus of both the West Chester Area School District and the University of Delaware. I worked in hospitality my entire career in addition to working in computer sales and executive consultation. I am highly entrepreneurial, and fiscal accountability is one of my strengths. Additionally, I am well acquainted with long range planning and problem solving.
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
This is my first time running for office. However, I do have extensive experience working with all levels of government during my decades of working in the restaurant industry. I worked across the aisles to make the use of Naloxone more palatable to businesses. I was voted Chester County 2021 Citizen of the Year by the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry for my efforts to help the restaurant industry successfully navigate COVID era policies. The Pennsylvania House and Senate also honored me with a citation for Citizen of the Year.
Are you running with other candidates?
Yes, I am running alongside four other candidates in West Chester. We are all supported by Back to Basics West Chester. Our platform consists of six pillars: school safety, academic excellence, fiscal accountability, transparency, parents as partners in their child’s education, and keeping politics out of the classroom.
What is the most important role of the school board in your opinion?
Our school board lacks the meaningful diversity that our students, parents, and taxpayers need. Not only does our board need to reflect the population of schools in racial, ethnic, and economic diversity, but we also need to see diversity of thought amongst board members. Diversity is essential on the committees and in policy debates, because each board member has a special skill to contribute. Political leaders might focus on power but school board leaders should focus on student achievement in addition to managing the business of the district. The board must also focus on supporting, facilitating, and holding the administration accountable. The Back to Basics slate of candidates restores the diversity and balance to the board.
We contacted the Democratic and Republican committees in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties and asked them to share the questions 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.
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