Hello Exeter Township and St. Lawrence Borough residents!
My name is Jason Mell and I’m currently running for school director on the Exeter Township School Board. I’ll be campaigning for one of the 4-year terms that are open in the 2021 municipal election.
I have two children in the school district; Madalyn, a fourth-grader at Owatin Creek Elementary and Isaac, a seventh-grader at the Junior High. My wife, Tiffany, is a 1998 Exeter graduate as well as a K-4 Reading Specialist who supports students in the community.
I’ve had the pleasure to serve on the boards for various community organizations over the years, including the Exeter Youth Soccer Association and the Exeter Community Library. In 2019, I was appointed to the Exeter Township Planning Commission to fulfill a 4-year term. I was also the founder and editor for The Exeter Informant, an organization that served community news for the township from 2014 to 2020.
For education, I obtained a Masters of Science in Information Systems from Drexel University, along with an undergraduate degree in Information Systems from Albright College. I attended Reading School District until 9th grade before moving to Antietam School District where I graduated in 1998.
My occupation is heavily focused on data and technology. I currently work as a Software Engineering Manager for a marketing automation firm based in Lititz, Pennsylvania.
Why am I running for school board?
Simply put, I have a vested interest in the success and integrity of the school district. As community members, we all do. Families are moving to Exeter Township and St. Lawrence Borough because of the positive reputation of the district. It’s the heart of our community. Should we neglect it, the negative impact on the area will follow. I also want to ensure the district is remaining competitive by producing quality education and extracurricular programs for students.
By the same token, taxpayers continue to bear a heavy burden. We have to find ways to stabilize and reduce the tax levied on the community without impacting the students the district serves. Year after year, the board is faced with a budget deficit that is either fulfilled by dipping into reserve funds or by raising taxes. Ultimately, community trust in district spending decisions must be restored; a trust that has eroded over the past two decades.
I’ve spent the past seven years attending and reporting on public meetings. During that time, I’ve learned a lot. There are decisions I lauded, and others not so much. There is nothing more humbling than putting myself in the shoes of the elected officials that I may have once critiqued.
We don’t know what public education will look like in a post-pandemic world. The past two years have posed significant challenges for parents, students, educators, and school officials; all who are trying their best to hold things together.
Speaking with voters, there’s two major concerns I’ve frequently heard; the pandemic’s impact on children and the tax burden.
One of the most crucial priorities we have now is addressing instructional learning loss in addition to the mental and emotional health needs of our students.
Reading and math proficiency along with graduation rates also need to be a larger focus as we move forward.
Virtual learning in the district should continue to grow and adjust as an option for students. We need to continue to invest in bolstering our online offerings as cyber charter schools compete with public education.
The tax burden also shows no immediate signs of stabilizing as the district attempts to eliminate the structural deficit. The administration has made changes to reduce expenditures, but we need to do more.
The school district faces many difficult decisions in the years ahead. We need the right people in office to make those decisions.
I would appreciate your vote in the general election taking place on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.
Do you have questions or concerns you’d like to share with Jason? Let your voice be heard.