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Murali Balaji

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Murali Balaji
Murali Balaji.jpg
Former candidate for
Board member, North Penn School District
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
High schoolNorth Penn High School
(timed out) Campaign website
Murali Balaji was a candidate for a seat on the North Penn school board. He lost in a general election on November 5, 2013.


Balaji is a resident of Towamencin and a graduate of North Penn High School. He worked as a journalist for eight years before becoming a professor at Temple University.[1]


See also: North Penn School District elections (2013)


Balaji ran for an at-large seat on the school board on November 5, 2013 against Tina Stoll, Josie Charnock, Timothy S. Kerr, Vincent Sherpinsky, Alex Ryabin, Paul Edelman, Jr., and Frank O'Donnell.[2]

Election results

North Penn School District General Election, At-large, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJosie Charnock 13.5% 7,913
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTimothy S. Kerr Incumbent 13.4% 7,895
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngFrank O'Donnell Incumbent 13.1% 7,665
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngVincent Sherpinsky Incumbent 13% 7,626
     Democrat Tina Stoll 12.3% 7,236
     Democrat Paul Edelman, Jr. 12% 7,052
     Democrat Alex Ryabin 11.5% 6,782
     Democrat Murali Balaji 11.1% 6,539
     Nonpartisan Write-in 0% 16
Total Votes 58,724
Source: Montgomery County 2013 General Election Results," accessed December 13, 2013

North Penn School District Democratic Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngTina Stoll 22.6% 1,950
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngPaul Edelman, Jr. 20.5% 1,764
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngAlex Ryabin 18.3% 1,581
     Democrat Green check mark transparent.pngMurali Balaji 18.1% 1,560
     Democrat Frank O'Donnell 5.8% 499
     Democrat Vincent Sherpinsky 4.8% 414
     Democrat Timothy S. Kerr 4.9% 426
     Democrat Josie Charnock 5% 430
Total Votes 8,624
Source: "The Knight Crier," "School Board Primary Election Results," accessed September 19, 2013

North Penn School District Republican Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTimothy S. Kerr 20.1% 2,239
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngFrank O'Donnell 18.4% 2,049
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngVincent Sherpinsky 18.3% 2,036
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJosie Charnock 17.7% 1,968
     Republican Tina Stoll 9.2% 1,025
     Republican Paul Edelman, Jr. 6.9% 774
     Republican Alex Ryabin 4.8% 536
     Republican Murali Balaji 4.7% 521
Total Votes 11,148
Source: "The Knight Crier," "School Board Primary Election Results," accessed September 19, 2013


Balaji reported no contributions or expenditures to the Montgomery County Voter Services department.[3]


Balaji was a Next S.T.E.P. candidate in the November 5 election. Next S.T.E.P. is an organization determined to put progressive candidates onto the North Penn school board.[4] He was also endorsed by the Hatfield Democratic Party and Lansdale Democrats.[5][6]

Campaign themes

As a Next S.T.E.P candidate, Balaji identified the following campaign themes:[7]

Progress for all students

"As a community that values its children, it is important to strive for continual improvement in the quality of education in order for every child to reach his/her own potential. We need to ensure that all students are equipped with the tools to advance. When elected, we will make sure our students have the resources for learning in the 21st century. Focusing on our children’s education and safety is our top priority.”"

Straight talk, open doors

"In order for a school district to become successful, it needs to be honest. We will introduce transparency into the North Penn School Board’s decision making process - no more closed door meetings. Our policy is to respect all personnel and parents. It is important to involve the community through active dialogue. We will work with Harrisburg and other elected officials to provide a secure future for our district.”"

Maximize district potential

"We would welcome more involvement from our local business community. This involvement would allow them to support our community by making sure the jobs stay local instead of outsourcing them from outside of the county and in some cases, the state. New funding resources will be pursued by acquiring additional grant money. We will not waste money on consultants, poorly managed construction contracts and frivolous perks for senior administration staff. By utilizing creative and innovative solutions we will manage costs by making what we currently have work.”"

Advocate for world class education

"Public education for our children is the greatest investment we can make as a community. We have an opportunity to improve public education in the North Penn area by working together to ensure that all resources go to the students in our schools, not to experimental ventures. We have an obligation to our community to maintain our property values by creating an environment in our schools where children feel safe and will be equipped with technological skills that will enhance their success in the competitive world of the twenty-first century. Having a stronger voice in Harrisburg enables us to reach these goals.”"

Support who make the district work

"Eliminate bullying and intimidation across the school district. Respecting teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and all personnel, teaches our children what respect looks like. We need to lead by example in treating all stakeholders - students, parents and taxpayers -with respect. We all need to work towards the common goal of providing a great education- and do it with respect. Teachable moments are everywhere.”

Embrace diversity

"As diversity grows, we would want to make sure that administrators encourage students and their parents to have a dialogue so that no group feels left out. That way from a young age, students can be aware of the rich traditions that have guided followers of all major faiths and all races.”

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

What's at stake?

Four seats on the North Penn School District school board are at stake, including president Vincent Sherpinsky's seat and vice president Timothy Kerr's seat. Incumbents Timothy S. Kerr, Vincent Sherpinsky, and Frank O'Donnell are running for re-election. The new board will also continue to address the ongoing charter school debate.

About the district

See also: North Penn School District, Pennsylvania
North Penn School District services areas in Montgomery County
North Penn School District serves the municipalities of North Wales Borough, Lansdale Borough, Hatfield Borough, Upper Gwynedd Township, Towamencin Township, Montgomery Township, and Hatfield Township in Montgomery County. Montgomery County has a population of 808,460.[8]


The county outperforms the state averages in education and median household income. According to the 2010 Census, the percentage of residents with a high school degree (92.9%) is higher than the state of Pennsylvania (87.9%) and the percentage of residents over 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher is also higher in Montgomery County (44.4%) compared to the state overall (26.7%). The median household income in Montgomery County is $78,446 compared to Pennsylvania's statewide median of $51,651.[8]

Racial Demographics, 2012[8]
Race Montgomery County (%) Pennsylvania (%)
White 81.9 83.5
Black or African American 9.1 11.4
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.2 0.3
Asian 6.9 2.7
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.8 1.7
Hispanic or Latino 4.5 6.1

Presidential Voting Pattern[9]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 56.6 42.3
2008 60.0 39.0
2004 55.6 44.0
2000 53.4 43.8

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[10] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

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