Candidates for the Delaware City School District Board of Education and Delaware City Council stated their positions on issues Tuesday during the League of Women Voters Candidates Night.
Three seats are set to expire on the Delaware City School District Board of Education. Incumbents Jayna McDaniel-Browning and Frances O’Flaherty and challengers Mark Butler and Michael Wiener participated in the forum. Candidate Deborah Guebert was unable to attend.
The candidates were asked, “What would be their process to create more diversity in the district?”
“We have to get kids excited about being teachers,” Butler said. “People are going into other careers because they want to make more money. Money is being pulled out so we’ve got to add more and more levies. How do we fund schools on an equal basis?”
“It doesn’t start with us; it’s not up to the school board,” said O’Flaherty. “Perhaps we need to look at spreading a wider net when we ask for applications.”
“I think part of the problem in attracting more African American or Hispanic teachers is that we don’t have the pay scale that’s comparable to other schools that are right next door to us,” McDaniel-Browning said. “It is more attractive to go where you can make more money.”
Wiener did not comment on the question.
Delaware City Council has three at-large seats that are due to expire. Incumbents Carolyn Riggle, George Hellinger, and Kent Shafer and write-in candidate Laura Roberts participated in the forum. Candidates Dustin Nanna and Christopher Cook were unable to attend.
The candidates were asked, “How do you feel about higher-density developments of housing in the city to promote more efficient land use?”
“The challenge we have to work with all the time is there’s a cost to the city to provide services,” Shafer said. “One of the things we’ve talked about recently is how can we keep those things reasonable? We may be justified in raising those types of fees, but it has an impact on the price of housing.”
“If you look at our comprehensive plan, you will see that we have a variety of residential zones out there that will get up into a higher density.” Hellinger said. “But at the end of the day it all comes down to who wants to build it. It’s up to the private sector to come in and invest.”
“I think Delaware is very fortunate to have Habitat (for Humanity),” said Riggle. “I think we are finishing the 67th house in Delaware, which I think is phenomenal. I do believe we need a lot more starter houses than what we have in the city.”
“I would just like to see more on our part of the city council to research into what we can do,” said Roberts. “You can always find something better as long as you look for it.”
Delaware City Council 3rd Ward candidates Jim Browning, the incumbent, and George Mantzoros attended the forum. Candidates Ben Kelly and George McNab were unable to attend.
Candidates were asked, “What do you think is the biggest challenge because of the growth in the southeast sector of the city?”
“I think the biggest challenge is really keeping the city connected,” Browning said. “The activities in town keep the residents more connected.”
“Having a vibrant downtown that offers great restaurants, great festivals, and particularly the First Friday, people begin to realize it’s pretty exciting,” Mantzoros said. “I spend a lot of time downtown and I see more and more new faces. I think it helps.”
Election day is Nov. 7. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 10.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.