During the new year the Milford School District will experience many challenges including the implementation of a plan to reduce their deficit, the hiring of a new Superintendent, and sustaining their superior school ratings. Milford School Board President Patrick Emory is looking forward to the 2012 school year and is optimistic about the potential for growth in the Milford School District.
Patrick Emory was reelected to the Milford School Board last year and was appointed President of the Board on July 11, 2011 by the members of the School Board. Pat Emory is a 7th generation Milfordian with a family background in farming in the upper Sussex and lower Kent County area. Pat has worked over 26 years for the State of Delaware starting as an environmental protection officer for the Department of Natural Resources. He now is Director of the Office of Communication Services. Pat is currently serving his third term on the Milford School Board and will complete his first term as School Board President at the end of this year.
The most urgent challenge that Mr. Emory and the Milford School District will have to resolve is the looming budget crisis that was brought to the public’s attention last November during a community meeting help by Superintendent Sharon Kanter. During the meeting Ms. Kanter explained that the K-12 public education financial structure is not sufficient to maintain current services and performance levels and by the year 2014 there will be shortfall of $1.6 million if the problem is not dealt with. President Emory is determined to find a resolution to the deficit problem during his next 6 months in office and will be taking an internal approach at finding solutions.
“We can’t expect the State legislature to reinstate funding,” commented Mr. Emory. “We need to take a look at taking care of our own house and figure out how we can make it work for us. We need to come up with a plan before this problem happens.”
Mr. Emory suggests looking at programs in the Milford School District and taking steps to eliminate where services are being duplicated or have become obsolete. With input from the community Mr. Emory would like the School Board to develop a financial plan in the near future for the district moving forward.
Milford School District will also be expected to hire a new Superintendent in the year 2012 as the retirement of current Superintendent Sharon Kantor is set to take place in June of this year. At the School Board meeting on December 12, 2011 Ms. Kanter turned in her letter of intent to retire as Milford School District Superintendent due to personal issues. According to Mr. Emory the Board would like to hire a new Superintendent before Ms. Kanter’s tenure is set to expire so that the new individual can have some transitional time with assistance from Ms. Kanter before they begin. Again, Mr. Emory feels that the involvement of the community should be a part of this process and help determine who the new Superintendent will be.
“The community should be involved with this process because it will impact them,” stated. Mr Emory. “Although the final decision will be up to the School Board it is important that we listen to the community.”
The School Board will also facilitate support and resources to each school in the District to continue the superior ratings that they received during the 2011 school year from the Delaware Department of Education. Milford High School, Milford Central Academy, Milford Middle School Intensive Learning Center, Lulu Ross Elementary School and Morris Early Childhood Center were awarded Superior Ratings and the Milford Middle School received a Commendable Rating for their performance on the state assessments.
“We are looking forward to continuing the success that was achieved last year,” stated Mr. Emory. “We will get a good handle on the budget crisis before it happens and hire a superintendent that can take on these challenges.”