Joe Hidalgo is the incumbent School Director after his appointment to the position in April of 2018.
Chartered Financial Consultant
Financial Advisor-2002 to present
BS Environmental Science - University of Delaware
What concerns or issues prompted you to run for School Board, and how do you propose to address them?
Last year, I was appointed unanimously by the Council Rock School Board to service out the remainder of the School Director term for Region 4. There was no particular concern or issue that prompted me to step up but rather a true sense of civic duty and a sincere interest in the common good and pride in Council Rock. Now that I have been experiencing the issues we face first hand, I believe I bring a unique prospective that will contribute to creating reasonable and long lasting solutions. I will continue to work with fellow board members, the administration and solicit input from the community on the academic and economic issues we will face in the coming years.
What qualifications and experience do you have that will assist you in the performance of the duties of this office?
I have been an incumbent Council Rock School Director for the past 13 months. It takes time to ramp up and I am beginning to hit my stride. My experience over the past 16 years as a Financial Advisor has allowed me to hone the skills in listening and helping people develop and meet objectives and goals while managing expectations. My practice in analyzing financial data should be helpful in understanding the school budget and contributing to its continued success and betterment. I have 3 children enrolled in Council Rock schools and have a good history of advocating for them. Now, I get to advocate for the many. I volunteer as a home room parent and partake in other programs that keep me engaged with the students which also helps me keep a pulse on the district. I teach CCD which further gives me experience and insight into teaching. I am active in sports and the arts and will continue to support those programs at Council Rock in addition to our outstanding academic programs.
Advocating for the many
Experience in the position
giving back to the community
(1) What is the biggest issue facing your district, and how would you address it?
Our biggest issue is balancing the increasing budgetary strain with the need to provide state of the art, tax sensible, educational programs. As an experienced Financial Advisor, I will bring “outside the box” ideas and solutions to the table.
(2) How will you address the skyrocketing cost of teacher pensions?
The state mandates that districts pay half the cost of employer contributions. The rate has ballooned to 33.36% this year, of which 75% is being used to pay unfunded liability. Best addressed in Harrisburg, but should be taken into account locally.
(3) Pennsylvania continues to be a state where teachers have the right to work stoppage, walkouts and strikes. What are your thoughts on this? How would you work to prevent strikes in your district?
Our highly regarded teachers and staff are the life blood and front line of the district. We should continuously work closely with the associations to address the needs and concerns of all parties in a fair and informed way to avoid future conflicts.
(4) Would you prefer that contract negotiations with teachers unions be carried out in a more public manner? Explain your answer.
I don’t believe this is common practice or in the best interest of anyone. To negotiate in good faith, there needs to be a mutual level of trust and confidentially. Doing so in a more public manner could prohibit progress and have legal implications.
(5) Would you support flip-flopping school start times to give high school students a later arrival? Explain your answer.
We are actively investigating this concept at our high schools. I think the early start times do weigh on some students’ performance and well-being. Community input is paramount. Logistics, cost, pros and cons should be considered in any timeline.
(6) Is the current system of approving charter schools fair to districts and charters? If not, what would be a fairer procedure?
Charter schools are exempt from many of the requirements imposed on public schools regarding hiring and curriculum, yet they’re publicly funded. The entire system should be modified to include more accountability and cost and funding controls.
(7) Should there be state intervention when districts refuse to allow another district to merge with it? Why or why not?
The state should not intervene in a community’s decision whether or not to merge school districts. It should be up to the community to decide because they ultimately bear the outcome. Use of a local referendum may be prudent in situations like these.