My name is Gary Michael Smedley, and I’m running for Vice President of the PSBA. I’m currently the President of the Carbondale Area School Board in Lackawanna County and the PSBA Region 7 Director. I am no stranger to PSBA elections, as last year I ran for Eastern AtLarge-Representative. I am a 2005 graduate of my district, and I received my Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. I am currently employed as a pharmacist. I have served on my board since 2007, winning a seat while still attending college. I served as Vice President of the Board for 3 years, before becoming elected President in May 2011. I’m active in my community, serving on many community boards. I’m also an avid Penn State fan, and I invite all of you to stop by and say hi at my tailgate on Saturdays in the fall in Happy Valley.
As your Vice President, I will push to advance meaningful reforms for the issues that are plaguing our districts. The state legislature took a great step forward with their recent bill to reform the pension system; however we must press them to address the unfunded liability that is crippling our local districts. Harrisburg created this crisis; I will hold their feet to the fire to make them fix this crisis.
We must also push the state legislature to enact comprehensive and meaningful reforms to the Charter School Law. It is unfair that charter schools are able to operate under a different set of standards than our own districts. As stewards of public education, we must ensure that every student in this Commonwealth attends an educational institution that is held to the same high financial, ethical, and academic standards that our districts are held to. Having a charter school located within my district, I can personally attest to how unfair this double standard is. Our board writes a six figure check to our local charter school monthly, robbing our students of needed financial resources, and we have no means to ensure our charter students are held to the same standards as our in house students. This double standard does a grave disservice to our youth, and I will fight to close these charter school loopholes and allow parents to see the value of a public school education by ensuring that charter schools and public schools have to adhere to the same standards.
In closing, I BELIEVE that as leaders of our community, it is our duty to fight for the rights of our constituents and students. I BELIEVE that the status quo is no longer good enough for my district or yours; we can’t pay our districts’ electric bills or pension obligations with empty promises. I BELIEVE that the time has come for change instead of more empty rhetoric, and I KNOW that I am the candidate to lead that charge. My name is Gary Smedley, and I look forward to fighting for you as your Vice President.

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