Although two people have filed to run for Christina School Board, one has announced that if elected, she would not serve, meaning the school board would appoint someone to fill the position.
Katie Hegedus, who is challenging incumbent John Young, explained that shortly after she filed, “unexpected and very serious family health issues” arose. Due to that, she would be unable to serve on the school board if elected.
However, she decided to keep her name on the ballot in order to give voters a choice.
“Since the incumbent is the only other candidate to have filed for this seat, the election would be canceled if I remove my name from the ballot,” she said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “A cancelled election would not give Christina School District voters an opportunity to influence our school district’s governance. Rather than letting my personal circumstances negate the upcoming election, I have decided to leave my name on the ballot.”
Should voters elect Hegedus, the school board would then accept applications, conduct interviews and select a new board member to replace her.
“I regret that I am not able to pursue my goals to support and improve the Christina School District, but I believe that Christina voters deserve to have a choice,” Hegedus said.
Young, who is running for his third term, expressed sympathy for Hegedus’ family situation but criticized her decision to remain on the ballot.
“I feel strongly that because my opponent knows this prior to the withdrawal deadline with the department of elections, she now has an ethical obligation to withdraw from the race,” he continued, adding that there are costs for taxpayers to hold an election. “It’s a difficult situation, yet there is a clear, moral choice. I am hopeful she will consider the costs involved rather than proceed with this attempt to ‘game’ the system by remaining on the ballot while knowing she will not serve.”
Voters will head to the polls on May 14. Though the elected official represents District D, anyone who lives in the Christina School District is eligible to vote.
State Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove said that for Christina, the estimated cost of holding an election is between $30,000-$35,000. The money goes to advertising the election, printing manuals, training poll workers, paying poll workers and transporting the voting machines, etc.
Young, 49, has served on the school board for 10 years and has won two contested elections.
Young said he was prompted to first run in 2009 due to his son’s involvement in the Delaware Autism Program, which is a district program. Young said that his family sought out the district years ago so his son, now a student at Christiana High, could take part in the program.
If re-elected, his goals are to study the capacity of the Christina’s buildings and increase transparency in the district.
“I’m still energized to continue to make the experience the absolute best it can be, and to make sure the taxpayers, who are funding all of this, have a voice. I think that’s really important, too,” he said.
Hegedus has been a resident of Newark for 25 years and holds a mechanical engineering degree from Lehigh University. Her sons, Cliff and Tim, attended West Park Place Elementary, Shue-Medill Middle School and Newark High School.
Currently, Hegedus serves as the development director at Serviam Girls Academy, a tuition-free school that supports middle school girls from New Castle County.