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Debra Wachspress

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Debra Wachspress
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Board member, Pennsbury School District
Term ends
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sRutgers University
Master'sRutgers University
ProfessionDirector of Community Engagement
Campaign website
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Debra Wachspress holds a Region 1 seat on the Pennsbury school board. She first won election to the board on November 5, 2013.


Wachspress and her husband, Dan, reside in Lower Makefield and are the parents of three children who currently attend Afton Elementary, William Penn, and Pennsbury High School. She received he B.A. in political science and M.A. in public policy from Rutgers University. She is the Director of Community Engagement for the Boys & Girls Club of Trenton. Wachpress was previously the Vice President of the Kidsbridge Tolerance & Anti-bullying Museum. She has been the School Board President of Congregation Beth El in Yardley, Pennsylvania and is a PTO member.[1]



See also: Pennsbury School District elections (2013)


Wachspress ran for a Region 1 seat on the school board on November 5, 2013 against Simon Campbell, Susan Simon, and Joshua L. Waldorf


Pennsbury School District, Region 1 General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngDebra Wachspress 26.6% 3,154
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngJoshua L. Waldorf 25.4% 3,009
     Republican Simon Campbell Incumbent 24.5% 2,904
     Republican Susan Simon 23.5% 2,781
Total Votes 11,848
Source: Bucks County Election Results, "School District - Pennsbury School District SD," accessed December 24, 2013

Pennsbury School District Region 1 Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSimon Campbell 29.9% 808
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSusan Simon 28.5% 769
     Republican Joshua L. Waldorf 20.5% 554
     Republican Debra Wachpress 21.1% 569
Total Votes 2,700
Source: "Bucks County Elections," "Municipal Primary of Tuesday, May 21, 2013," accessed September 24, 2013

Pennsbury School District Region 1 Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngJoshua L. Waldorf 44.3% 1,060
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngDebra Wachpress 42% 1,005
     Democrat Simon Campbell 7.9% 188
     Democrat Susan Simon 5.8% 139
Total Votes 2,392
Source: "Bucks County Elections," "Municipal Primary of Tuesday, May 21, 2013," accessed September 24, 2013

Campaign finance

Wachpress reported no contributions or expenditures to the Pennsylvania Department of State.[2]


Wachspress was endorsed by The Democratic Clubs for Lower Makefield Township/Yardley.[3]

Campaign themes

Wachspress and running mate Joshua L. Waldorf identified the following as their campaign themes for 2013:[4]

Civility and Respect

"We want to move from contention on every issue facing the school board to one of productive collaboration. We will treat taxpayers, other board directors, administrators and teachers respectfully. School boards function best when they are nonpartisan decision-making bodies working to solve local issues."

Opposing outsourcing

"We are against outsourcing. The advertised cost savings is short lived and in the long run will cost the taxpayer more money. This puts the District at the mercy of profit-driven private contractors. Outsourcing also leads to the loss of control by the district over our services and personnel. We commend the current board and the support staff union for recently negotiating a six-year contract that due to major health insurance concessions will save the district $9 million over the lifetime of the contract. Our opponent, Simon Campbell, voted NO on the contract despite the unprecedented savings realized by the district, citing his opposition to “compulsory unionism.” He once again voted against saving the taxpayers’ money, in favor of his personal, extremist and anti-union agenda."

Property values

"Were is a direct correlation between the quality of a community’s public schools and its property values. The quality of the local school district is the primary reason families select a community when buying a home. We must invest in and support our schools in order to maintain our property values."

Fiscal Responsibility

"We will function as watchdogs for taxpayers and will safeguard against wasteful spending. As homeowners and taxpayers, we are committed to keeping taxes down and allocating tax dollars wisely. We will work to maximize our limited financial resources, approaching the budgeting process in a frugal and fiscally responsible manner. We will demand that the district administration defends all expenditures as it goes through the budgeting process and eliminates waste and inefficiency in spending. We will examine all alternative revenue streams to help balance the budget."


"Our district has several aging buildings with significant infrastructure problems. Some schools do not have air conditioning, forcing them to dismiss their students early on very hot days. The roof at Pennwood Middle School is leaking necessitating placement of buckets in the hallways. Our opponents are Pennwood parents. WHY then are they not leading the charge to resolve these major infrastructure problems? Stalling and delaying will eventually cost the taxpayer more in the long run as repair costs and safety concerns escalate."

Quality education

"Well-rounded students are exposed to science, history, social studies, music, art, foreign languages, and physical education throughout their years in school. A full selection of AP and honors classes is essential for providing appropriate academic rigor for those students demanding it."

Special education

"We seek to improve the experience of families as they navigate special education policies, programs and options offered by Pennsbury Schools and the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. Too often, parents face frustrating hurdles trying to pinpoint suitable educational options for their children and depend on the district to help them navigate the complicated process. The district recently hired a new director of special education and we support, as one of her priorities, a full review of processes, including the use of parent focus groups to facilitate the best placement decisions."

Gifted education program

"The district is currently conducting a review of the gifted education program for elementary and middle school. We support appropriately challenging coursework for students who are identified as gifted (and have a GIEP -gifted individualized education plan) enabling them to reach their highest potential. Given the district’s decision to eliminate the advanced math program in the elementary schools, we are concerned about the impact on mathematically advanced students."

Teacher pensions

"The pension obligation is a statewide crisis for all Pennsylvania school systems and is arguably the biggest budgetary problem facing districts. Under state law, school districts have no legal jurisdiction over pension policies, but are forced to deal with a steeply escalating pension debt. Residents are strongly urged to contact Governor Corbett and their legislators to advocate for measures that will effectively relieve the burden on local taxpayers and school districts."

Teacher strikes

"Like doctors, firefighters and police officers, teachers are an essential part of our community’s infrastructure. We oppose teachers going out on strike because our children need them in the classroom. We value teachers as professionals and recognize their important role in educating our children."


"We recognize the need for redistricting when population numbers shift significantly. However, we opposed the recent elementary school redistricting plan that the school board adopted in May and believe the process was flawed. The school board should have tabled the plan to further analyze updated enrollment data and other options to develop a sensible longterm solution that affected the fewest families."


"We support a full and thorough review of the District's current security procedures and systems. Given the tragedies that have taken place in other schools across the country, we believe it is imperative that we update and maintain security procedures and systems in every Pennsbury building in an attempt to protect students and staff from the unimaginable."


"We are against a merger with Morrisville. It is worthwhile and professionally courteous for Pennsbury School Board directors to exchange ideas with other school boards throughout our region. Talking is not the same as acting. We are mindful that Pennsbury High School is among the top 25 largest high schools in Pennsylvania and the needs of our current students must come before considering increasing the size of the present student body."

Union campaign contributions

"Our campaign, Friends of Wachspress and Waldorf, is not accepting financial contributions from the Pennsbury teachers union or the support staff union. We feel this policy is important to minimize bias is future contract negotiations. Our campaign finance reports are of public record."

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

Four seats on the Pennsbury School District were at stake in the upcoming election, including board President Allan Weisel's seat. Simon Campbell was the only incumbent running for re-election.

About the district

See also: Pennsbury School District, Pennsylvania
Pennsbury School District is located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Pennsbury School District serves Falls Township, Lower Makefield Township and Yardley, as well as portions of Morrisville, Newtown and Tullytown in Bucks County, which is located in eastern Pennsylvania. The county has a population of 627,053.[5]


The county outperforms the state in education and median household income. According to the 2010 Census, the percentage of residents with a high school degree (92.4%) is higher than the state of Pennsylvania (87.9%) and the percentage of residents over 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher is higher in Bucks County (34.7%) compared to the state overall (26.7%). The median household income in Bucks County is $76,019 compared to Pennsylvania's statewide median of $51,651.[5]

Racial Demographics, 2012[5]
Race Bucks County (%) Pennsylvania (%)
White 90.1 83.5
Black or African American 3.9 11.4
American Indian and Alaska Native .3 0.3
Asian 4.3 2.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.5 1.7
Hispanic or Latino 4.6 6.1

Presidential Voting Pattern[6]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 50.0 48.8
2008 54.0 45.0
2004 51.1 48.3
2000 46.3

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[7][8]

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