Sean Carpenter

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Sean Carpenter
Sean Carpenter.jpg
Board member, West Chester Area School District, At-large
Former member
Term ends
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 2009
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sPennsylvania State University
Campaign website
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Sean Carpenter held an at-large seat on the West Chester Area school board. He was initially elected in 2009 and lost re-election on November 5, 2013.


Carpenter first moved to West Chester in 1998, and has lived in his home in West Chester borough since 2004. He earned a B.S. in Mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University. He recently started his own business offering photography as well as technical design & consulting services. Carpenter is a member of various troop-support organizations.[1]



See also: West Chester Area School District elections (2013)


Carpenter ran for an at-large seat on the school board on November 5, 2013 against Maria Pimley, Edward Coyle, Pam LaTorre, Robin Kaliner, Joyce Chester, Chris McCune and Ricky L. Swalm.

Election results

Carpenter lost in the election on November 5, 2013.

West Chester Area School District, General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJoyce Chester 13.8% 9,708
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngChris McCune 13.8% 9,679
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRobin Kaliner 13.7% 9,592
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRicky L. Swalm 13.4% 9,395
     Republican Edward Coyle Incumbent 11.5% 8,046
     Republican Sean Carpenter Incumbent 11.5% 8,046
     Republican Pam LaTorre 11.3% 7,941
     Republican Maria Pimley Incumbent 11% 7,688
     Nonpartisan 0% 0
Total Votes 70,095
Source: Chester County, Pennsylvania, "Summary Report," accessed December 13, 2013

West Chester Area School District, Democratic Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJoyce Chester 22.9% 2,844
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRobin Kaliner 22% 2,735
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngChris McCune 21% 2,612
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRicky L. Swalm 20.3% 2,522
     Democratic Pam LaTorre 3.7% 454
     Democratic Edward Coyle Incumbent 3.4% 423
     Democratic Maria Pimley Incumbent 3.4% 418
     Democratic Sean Carpenter Incumbent 3.2% 401
Total Votes 12,409
Source: Chester County, Pennsylvania, "Summary Report," accessed October 31, 2013

West Chester Area School District, Republican Primary Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSean Carpenter Incumbent 18.4% 3,741
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngEdward Coyle Incumbent 17.3% 3,521
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngPam LaTorre 16.8% 3,424
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMaria Pimley Incumbent 15.8% 3,208
     Republican Robin Kaliner 8.2% 1,666
     Republican Chris McCune 8.1% 1,649
     Republican Joyce Chester 7.9% 1,604
     Republican Ricky L. Swalm 7.5% 1,523
Total Votes 20,336
Source: Chester County, Pennsylvania, "Summary Report," accessed October 31, 2013


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


Carpenter received an endorsement from the Republican Committee of Chester County.[3]

Campaign themes

As Republican-endorsed candidates, Carpenter, Pimley, Coyle and LaTorre addressed the following questions for their 2013 campaign:[4]

Did your incumbent candidates decrease the general fund balance that is needed to help the district with financial emergencies?

No. Prior to our incumbent candidates taking office, the general fund balance was approximately 4%. Presently, it is 8%. Since coming into office in 2009, they more than doubled the district’s general fund balance, from $7.8 million in 2009 to $16 million in 2013. During this time, the board also established $12 million in committed funds to deal with pension costs, healthcare costs, and to offset millage increases. The board’s conservative budgeting was even highlighted by Moody’s Investor’s Services when they re-affirmed the District’s Aaa rating in December, 2012. According to Moody’s: “The district’s financial position is expected to remain stable given management’s effective implementation of expenditure cuts, a history of conservative budgeting practices, and a demonstrated commitment to maintaining satisfactory reserves."

If the board truly wanted to settle the teachers’ contract, why aren’t the school board members present at the negotiating table?

When teachers salaries compose approximately 45% of the district’s operating budget, it would be irresponsible not to utilize the skills of a professional negotiator in order to obtain a sustainable contract that will also allow us to continue to provide the high quality education that our students deserve. The board has empowered a strong ‘table team’ consisting of our top administrative talent and our professional negotiator to ensure our negotiations are focused on coming to a successful agreement.

During contract negotiations the teachers have made millions of dollars in concessions, however, the board has not offered any concessions. Why?

The board did not come to the table with an extreme and unreasonable position, expecting to work to a middle ground, as it appears the Union had. The board came to the table with an offer that reflected an affordable, viable contract proposal which fits within realistic budget constraints.

Has the current board cut special education funding?

No, there have not been any cuts nor are any proposed for special education funding. In fact, spending for special education goes up every year. While there may be reductions for Medicaid reimbursements from the state, the school district is obligated by law to pay for those costs.

Are the present school board members, running as candidates, undermining public education?

Among other accomplishments, Sean Carpenter, Ed Coyle, and Maria Pimley hired 37 new teachers in 2013, brought in a new middle school math program with six new math specialists, renovated three elementary schools, and increased funding for special education, music, and arts. All nine of their children are in public school, as well.

Why did the present school board reject a $900,000 federal grant for early reading programs for preschool-age children residing in the district?

The grant in question was guaranteed for only two years. After that, the district would have had to fund the program annually, much like an unfunded mandate, to preschools over which they had no oversight. This means that when the funds ran out, this would have pulled taxpayer dollars from our K-12 schools to private and religious preschools. The Board explained their concerns multiple times at public meetings.

Why has the Board taken no initiative to implement a full-day, district-wide kindergarten program while funding full-day kindergarten for charter schools in the district?

The district has full-day kindergarten for at-risk students. All-day kindergarten for all interested students was explored, but currently we do not have the facilities for it. The district has no control over what programs charter schools offer.

Do Advanced Placement (AP) courses routinely have 30 students, exceeding the district guidelines of 25 students per class?

No, in fact 60% of our AP classes have fewer than 25 students. Despite some larger class sizes, more students are taking AP exams than before, and scoring well enough to receive college credit.

Why did some administrators, principals, and teachers leave the district within the past year?

Because we have excellent teachers and administrators, when there are openings for positions, our staff generally come out as top candidates. Some have accepted positions as superintendents, business managers, and cabinet members for either personal or professional reasons. During this time, we have retained many excellent educators, promoting internally for Assistant Superintendent, Director of Secondary Education, principals, and many other positions.

Where did the district “discover” $10 million after the Fact Finder issued his report?

The district collected $2 million in delinquent taxes after filing financials for the Fact Finder and saved another $2 million in expenses, for a total of $4 million. The $10 million number is false.

Why has the school board deliberately engaged in long, protracted, and damaging contract negotiations?

The Board would like nothing more than to settle the contract. The teacher’s union has rejected both the independent Fact Finder’s report and another offer made by the board, containing further salary and benefit increases.

Aren’t the “Better Direction” candidates nonpartisan?

These candidates, despite their party registration, support yearly tax hikes to the maximum extent of the law, union control, and unsustainable budget expenditures that will lead to fewer teachers.

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 West Chester Area school board were at stake in the election. Incumbents Carpenter, Maria Pimley, and Edward Coyle sought re-election. Finances are one of the largest challenges in the district, so the new board will continue to address ongoing funding questions, including the benefits of tax increases and program cuts.[5] The newly elected board will also address an ongoing teacher contract debate.[6]

About the district

See also: West Chester Area School District, Pennsylvania
West Chester Area School District is located in Chester County, Pennsylvania
West Chester Area School District is located in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The county seat of Chester County is West Chester. According to the 2010 US Census, Chester County is home to 506,575 residents.[7]


Chester County outperformed the rest of Pennsylvania in terms of its average median rates of household income, poverty rate and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in Chester County was $86,264 compared to $51,651 for the state of Pennsylvania. The poverty rate in Chester County was 6.1% compared to 12.6% for the entire state. The US Census also found that 48.1% of Chester County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 26.7% in Pennsylvania.[7]

Racial Demographics, 2012[7]
Race Chester County (%) Pennsylvania (%)
White 87.4 83.5
Black or African American 6.4 11.4
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.3 0.3
Asian 4.3 3.0
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.6 1.7
Hispanic or Latino 6.8 6.1

Party Affiliation, 2013[8]
Party Chester County Registered Voters  % of Total
Republican 147,576 44.49
Democratic 125,440 37.81
Libertarian 2,094 0.63
Other 56,627 17.07

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[9]

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