Wayne Burton, Candidate for School Director, WCASD

Wayne Burton is the only endorsed Democratic candidate for the West Chester Area School Board

  • Retired Faculty of West Chester University, Dept. of Political Science, focus on Organizational Management
  • Graduate of public schools, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 48-year resident in West Chester Area School District
  • Two children graduated WCASD
  • Six grandchildren in WCASD, one graduated Rustin, five still in three schools
  • Active volunteer in classes in schools
  • Seven-year member of West Chester Borough Council
  • Member of West Chester Borough Home Rule Charter Commission
  • 35 years activity in Boy Scout leadership positions
  • Active in senior/retiree organizations, State of PA
  • Committed to supporting public education: “It has provided life opportunities to me, my children, and grandchildren and to the great majority of citizens.”

Any other candidates appearing on the ballot as Democrats received enough votes in the primary election, but are not Democrats. Wayne is the only Democrat who won the Democratic primary for WCASD.

Democratic Primary Election, Tuesday May 17, 2011, 7 AM to 8 PM

It is important that you vote!
7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Primary Election on Tuesday May 17, 2011

If write-in candidates approach you, check them out in person and by asking knowledgeable Democrats.

Candidates can register for more than one party (cross-file) for School Board and various judge/justice positions. This means, for those positions, the Democratic ballot includes names of Republicans. Do not be deceived by misleading statements (such as “supported by many Democrats”) and mailers showing happy families and pets. Before you vote on May 17, be sure you know who the real Democrats are! Even if you think you know, check with the Democratic greeter at your polling place.

For West Chester Area School Board, the only Democrat on the ballot is Wayne Burton, Borough of West Chester resident and retired West Chester University faculty member. VOTE FOR WAYNE BURTON and no one else for WCASD “School Director” (that’s the term on the ballot)!

For West Chester Borough Council, the Democratic candidates on the ballot are:
Ward 2, Cassandra Jones (incumbent)
Ward 4, Jordan Norley
Ward 6, Jane Dorchester and Stephen Shinn

For countywide Democratic candidates and photos, see our Candidates page. For other Democratic candidates, refer to the website of municipal Democratic organizations or consult your Democratic Committeeperson or greeter at the polls.

To verify your voter registration, find your polling place or how to vote absentee, click here.

New appointment disappoints with ‘gift’ comments

editorial, Daily Local News, 3/30/11

Students, teachers, school staff, district administrators, and those who care deeply about what goes on in classrooms in the West Chester Area School District got another dose of disappointing news this week when the school board voted to appoint local businesswoman Karen S. Miller to fill the board’s ninth seat and give a majority to those board members who have proven themselves enemies of quality public education.

Miller, who seems to have no experience as a public school advocate or elected official, demonstrated her apparent antipathy towards those the school are designed to serve in comments she made after the board’s 7-1 vote to appoint her to replace outgoing member John Wingerter.

After expressing surprise and gratitude for her appointment, Miller, a member of an organization called the Pennsylvania Conservative Council – founded by local supporters of failed presidential candidate John McCain in 2009 — explained why she had sought appointment to the board and in doing so revealed her attitude towards public education.

“I (applied) because I think that education is a gift,” said Miller. “Right now (the district) has some major challenges and I think that with my background I’m capable of helping.”

She said Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget is one of the challenges facing the school district. Like many school board members in West Chester and elsewhere, Miller said every aspect of the school system would have to be re-evaluated.

“We have to learn to do with less. If the money’s not there, it’s not there,” Miller said.

Miller is mistaken. Education is not a gift from the government. It is a right that each child in Pennsylvania is entitled to, regardless of their socio-economic status or geographic location. For Miller to suggest that access to an education is somehow like a Christmas present that should be dressed up or slimmed down based on how much is available in the family savings account is to completely misread what the value of a public education is. A gift is something one can take away, or not give; an education is something that our children are owed.

Miller, 55, of East Goshen, has already been endorsed by the school district’s Republican committee for school director. In addition to her work with the Conservative Council, Miller is a financial officer of Fitzpatrick-Fanning Corp., a real estate development and property management firm in Downingtown.

Wingerter was considered to be the swing vote on the board, whose eight other members were halved into two distinct camps: one side holding fiscal conservatism in esteem and transmitting the idea that the district must curb its spending while the other arguing the investment is necessary to guarantee the students’ best interests. But Wingerter said most board members have had diverse voting records during his tenure.

It is true that tough challenges are ahead this year for all those who receive services from taxpayer funds. We think that the worst thing our public servants could do is to shortchange the future of the people who will make up the leaders of our society in years to come. That means trying to find the best way to insure that our students continue to receive the best and brightest education that is available, and not to shortchange them. Not to do so would be worse than shortsighted.

We regret that Miller may not be the person who is best equipped to understand or accept this.

Amnion Update

Hello Parents & Citizens!

Many of us have been hard at work communicating our concerns about Amnion’s premarital abstinence program to the school district.

The district has refused to put a hold on the program and we are currently waiting to find out if they will modify the parental “notification” letter. Currently, the letter does not mention that this is an abstinence-only-until-marriage program; it does not mention the word “abstinence.” It does not explain Amnion’s faith-based mission, nor does it reference the website. You can find the letter in the parent folders on the Fugett and Stetson websites.

The district has also denied our request to issue a robo-call to parents of 8th graders. Yet, the school issues robo-calls about fundraisers at Barnes and Noble, Dr. Seuss Nights, and other benign activities.

We are currently researching the program, and several parents are sitting in on the Amnion classes. We are also finding out exactly how it made its way into our schools. Parents we have reached out to so far who had 8th-graders at Stetson last year, where the program was piloted, were unaware that this program was taught to their children.

We will be persistent with our requests and are working on a strategy. We will keep you apprised.

In the meantime, here is the schedule for the Amnion program. Please be sure to call your principal and opt-out if you do not want your child to experience this program. If you have an 8th grader who is set to go through this program or had an 8th grader at Stetson last year, PLEASE email me. You can help!!

Fugett – 3/10, 3/15, 3/17, 6/7, and 6/10
Stetson – 3/21-3/28, 4/4-4/11
Peirce – 3/21-3/25


Thank you!

Dianne Herrin


Dear WCASD Parents & Taxpayers –

As most of you know, five of us presented to the WCASD school board on Monday night [February 28, 2011]. In case you weren’t there, our statement is attached. We encourage you to read it, as it helps answer uninformed criticisms of our position, as well as questions people may have about why we would oppose abstinence. To be clear: We are not opposing abstinence for young teens. We are opposing abstinence-only-until-marriage taught by a fundamentalist Christian organization to children in our public schools, for the reasons outlined in the attached statement.

Two of us met with Drs. Scanlon and Bertrando on Friday to clarify our concerns and be sure they have a full understanding of our position. We have asked them to put an immediate hold on the Amnion program – which is scheduled to be taught next week – until full and genuine attempts can be made to share information and work with the PTOC and District to fully address our concerns. We are asking the District to take a step back to allow for reasoned discussion and avoid further inflation of the controversy.

We are awaiting the District’s response to this request, as well as the requests included in the attached statement. We will keep you informed.

In the meantime, please consider sending a brief email to Drs. Scanlon and Bertrando asking the District to place an immediate hold on the Amnion program. You are welcome to use any of the talking points in the attached statement if you agree with them.


The emails must be sent this weekend or Monday, as the first Amnion program is scheduled to be taught on Wednesday.

We would appreciate your bcc-ing me on your emails so we can track the communications. We will never use your email or name in any way without your express permission.

Thank you for supporting our public schools! Please pass this on to interested parents and taxpayers.

-Dianne Herrin

Amnion Statement PDF

Parents voice concern over Amnion in West Chester

Parents voice concern over Amnion in West Chester
Published: Thursday, March 03, 2011

WEST GOSHEN — More West Chester Area School District parents voiced concerns Monday night about the Amnion program that middle schools are scheduled to host this month.

During the district board meeting, several parents voiced distress over eighth-grade students being scheduled to participate in Amnion’s RealEd4u program. This marks the second consecutive meeting where parents addressed the school board on this topic.

“Amnion is a faith-based, fundamentalist, evangelical Christian group that has no place in our publicly funded schools,” parent Dianne T. Herrin said Monday. “WCASD families have a diverse array of belief systems, religious faiths, and non-religious values — many of which differ from those of Amnion.”

Herrin and other district parents read from prepared statements that listed a number of complaints against the “relationship education” program, including that “abstinence-only education is ineffective” and cited four research documents for support, including data from the Centers for Disease Control. Those documents were presented to the board.

Residents were also concerned about possible discriminatory, psychological or socially damaging effects the program might have on children by stressing abstinence-only until marriage.

“This is the same sex education program being pushed by a fundamentalist anti-abortion group that was turned down by the Downingtown School Board,” said the Rev. Ralph Mero, a Unitarian Universalist minister.

In January, the Downingtown Area School District voted to not use RealEd4u, opting instead to teach its physical education classes using current district textbooks.

Amnion has issued a statement of faith on its website that was adapted from the National Association of Evangelicals’ statement of faith, but the group argues that it refrains from being “preachy, religious, or condemning.” On the group’s website, it identifies itself as a “life-affirming resource for women, men and families encountering the issues of unintentional pregnancy” and aims to “promote pre-marital sexual abstinence.” The RealEdu4u program is a free service offered by Amnion to schools. It has crisis centers in Kennett Square and Upper Darby.

Parents at the meeting questioned the board as to why Amnion was brought in to teach their children and the method in which families were notified of the program’s implementation.

“The parental notification letter does not disclose that Amnion is a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian organization, nor does it even state that Amnion is a religious group,” said Herrin.

Parents requested that the board open the issue to discussion at the next education committee meeting, and that the matter be resolved before the end of the month.

The school board did not respond to the parents during the meeting since these statements were made during the time allotted for public comments.

In a phone interview later, Herrin said, “I want the district to know that we love (them). We care a lot about the school district and that’s why we’re doing this.”

Thanks for pushing charter oversight

letter in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/15/10:

I am writing to thank and applaud State Sens. Andrew E. Dinniman (D., Chester) and Jeffrey E. Piccola (R., Dauphin) for their bipartisan leadership in sponsoring Senate Bill 1134, and helping it pass unanimously through the Senate Education Committee they cochair (“New law planned to bolster Pa. charter oversight,” May 5). This legislation, which now heads to the full Senate for a vote, will bring much-needed oversight, accountability, and transparency to charter and cyber-school education across the commonwealth.

As was recently chronicled in The Inquirer, for too long, cyber and charter schools in Pennsylvania have operated outside the rules. Too little oversight has resulted in far too many cases of gross mismanagement and misappropriation of funds. When already scarce resources are squandered, so is the public trust. When children are not adequately served, neither is our future as a community. As a candidate for Pennsylvania House District 156, I did note, however, that companion legislation has not yet been introduced in the Pennsylvania House. I urge our leaders in the House to follow the lead of Dinniman and Piccola.

Mark Stevens
West Chester

2009 Candidates

For Borough Council • November 3, 2009

Ward 1
Holly V. Brown
Holly V. Brown, Council Member, Ward 1
Ward 3
Charles A. (Chuck) Christie
Charles A. Christie, Council Member, Ward 3
Ward 5
Thomas P. Paxson
Thomas P. Paxson, Ward 5
Ward 7
John A. Manion
John A. Manion, Ward 7


For Mayor of West Chester • November 3, 2009

Ward 5
Carolyn T. Comitta
Carolyn T. Comitta, Ward 5


For District Justice East side • November 3, 2009

Wards 1, 2, 4
Gwenn Knapp


For West Chester Area School Board • November 3, 2009

Citizens for Excellence in Public Schools

PUBLIC SCHOOLS (wcasdexcellence.org).

By voting for them (and all our other endorsed candidates) on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, you are acting to ensure a strong public education system for all children in our community.

If you don’t come out on Election Day to support Samuel, Carty, Liczekw, and Tiernan, you may find Republican extremists directing your children’s education.

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. —Plato

If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. —Adlai E. Stevenson

Jim Jones on the WCASD race

Jim Jones is a Democratic member of Borough Council in West Chester.

On My Mind (10/19/09; original here)

For people who remember when the Republican Party was all- powerful in our area, watching the race for West Chester Area School Board has become painful. WCJIM’s sympathies are well-known, but he’s also fond of a viable multi-party system, and seeing insurgents destroy the party they are trying to capture is not pretty.

It’s too soon for the Chester County Democratic Party to claim all the prizes in this fall’s election, but the trend is certainly in their favor and the four Republicans running for school board are doing their part to bring it about. It started back on May 3 when John Wingerter, the only Republican with meaningful credentials for the job — he was an administrator in the Marple- Newtown District before going to work at a charter school — suggested that creationism is “scientific” and asserted that it should be taught to West Chester students (although he stopped short of calling for a change to the curriculum).

It got worse when photos surfaced of Sean Carpenter at the weekly rally at High and Market Streets in West Chester, holding signs that made light of torture. Now their latest faux pas has gotten them negative newspaper coverage, and totally teed off a number of people who were looking for ways to support them. Continue reading