Arthur Kaff

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Arthur Kaff
Arthur Kaff.jpg
Board member, Harford County Board of Education, District E
Incumbent
Term ends
June 2015
Years in position 2
Elections and appointments
Last electionJune 24, 2014
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
AppointedNovember 2012
Term limitsN/A
Education
Bachelor'sSUNY-New Paltz
Master'sU.S. Army War College
J.D.University of Bridgeport
Military service
Service/branchU.S. Army Reserve
Personal
ProfessionAttorney
Websites
Office website
Campaign website
Arthur Kaff campaign logo
Arthur Kaff currently represents District E on the Harford County Board of Education in Maryland. He was first appointed to the board in November 2012.[1] Kaff advanced from a primary election on June 24, 2014 to face challenger Rachel Gauthier in the general election on November 4, 2014.

Biography

Kaff earned a B.A. in political science from SUNY-New Paltz. He also holds a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College and a J.D. from the University of Bridgeport. Kaff currently serves as an attorney for the Department of the Army. He is also a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. Kaff and his wife, Cheryl, have three children.[2]

Elections

2014

See also: Harford County Public Schools elections (2014)

Opposition

The June 24, 2014, primary ballot included primaries for Districts B, C, D, E and F with the top two vote recipients in each primary advancing to the general election on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Robert "Bob" Frisch and challenger Laura Runyeon defeated Greg Johnson in District B. District C incumbent Alysson L. Krchnavy and challenger Joseph L. Voskuhl advanced to the general election by defeating John Anker. Nancy Reynolds faced challenger Mike Simon in her bid for another term in District D after defeating challengers Chris Scholz and Tishan D. Weerasooriya in the primary. The primary race for District E resulted in board member Arthur Kaff and newcomer Rachel Gauthier defeating Stephen Eric Macko and Barney Michel. Macko dropped out of the race after the withdrawal deadline which meant his name still appeared on the ballot. District F incumbent Thomas Fitzpatrick and Michael R. Hitchings squared off in the general election after defeating Joe Fleckenstein in the primary.

The District A race advanced to the general election without a primary as newcomers Frederick A. Mullis and Jansen M. Robinson were the only candidates to file for the seat.

In the general election Jansen M. Robinson won District A, incumbent Robert "Bob" Frisch was returned to District B, challenger Joseph L. Voskuhl defeated incumbent Alysson L. Krchnavy for District C, incumbent Nancy Reynolds won District D, newcomer Rachel Gauthier defeated incumbent Arthur Kaff for District E and incumbent Thomas Fitzpatrick won another term in District F.

This was the first time that county voters selected members for these seats on the Harford County Board of Education. Board members were appointed by the governor prior to a 2009 state law that turned six of the nine board seats into elected positions. There were board elections for two-year terms in Districts A, B and D in November 2010. Victorious candidates in the general election will take office in July 2015 along with three newly appointed members.[3]

Results

Harford County Public Schools, District E Primary Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRachel Gauthier 43.2% 1,831
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngArthur Kaff Incumbent 24.7% 1,049
     Nonpartisan Barney Michel 17.9% 760
     Nonpartisan Stephen Eric Macko 14.1% 599
Total Votes 4,239
Source: Maryland State Board of Elections, "Unofficial Results for the 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election," accessed June 25, 2014 These election results are unofficial. They will be updated once certified election results are available.

Funding

Kaff has reported $685 in contributions and no expenditures to the Maryland State Board of Elections, leaving his campaign with $815 on hand as of June 10, 2014. This total includes amounts from previous filing periods.[4]

Endorsements

Kaff received endorsements from The Baltimore Sun and the New Harford Democratic Club prior to the primary election.[5][6]

Campaign themes

2014

Kaff explained his themes for the 2014 race in an interview with The Baltimore Sun:

Q: How will you address the budget issues that each year leave Harford County Public Schools millions of dollars short of what school system officials say they need to operate?

I will first serve as a strong advocate for education who will continue to work collaboratively with the County Executive, the County Council, the delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, and other leaders in order to secure additional funding in the upcoming year and in future years for Harford County Public Schools. In addition, I will serve to protect the classroom as a current Board member while carefully managing a very tight budget. More specifically, this means we must strive to avoid losing teachers and advocate to protect key programs, such as instructional support in the core subjects of math, language arts, science and social studies; as well as special education, intervention, gifted and talented, the fine and performing arts, foreign languages, vocational education, and Harford Glen. We must also work hard with the goal of getting teachers and staff their steps and salary increases. I will also listen very carefully to PTA and PTO leaders, parents, teachers, staff, students, and other key stakeholders before working with other board members to decide how to balance the budget this year.

Q: In the wake of years of tragedies committed in schools across the country, please explain your position on school safety and security and what, if anything, should be done in Harford County Public Schools.

The need to keep our schools safe and secure is a subject of the utmost concern to me as the parent of two current students in Harford County Public Schools, especially in light of tragic events that have occurred in schools such as Sandy Hook Elementary School. Cameras and card scanning equipment need to be successfully installed in all schools. We need to eliminate open classrooms as these classrooms designs are no longer appropriate. In addition, we must work collaboratively with the Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement officials, listen to our security chief in Harford County Public Schools, and work with parents, students, and other key stakeholders to address security concerns and initiate improvements. Full funding for our schools will serve to address safety and security concerns, I am also working on improving the anti-bullying policy and addressing concerns about bullying, which is also related to the issue of safety and security in our schools.

Q: What is your position on two controversial cost savings measures – ending bus transportation waivers for students who live close to school and having tiered schedules in elementary schools to save on the number of buses needed.

I am unhappy with these measures and I fully understand that they have caused hardships. However, we were forced to make tough decisions in 2013 in order to address a steep budget shortfall. We did not want to hurt the classroom further by laying off massive numbers of teachers. The Board of Education is essentially where the rubber meets the road. We have no authority to generate revenue through taxes and must rely on what the county, state and Federal Government allocates to us. The bottom line is that we must receive full funding in order to restore bus transportation cuts and eliminate the fourth tier for elementary school bus routes. I note that that these subjects show that I have the capacity to make difficult decisions.

Q: How will you address student achievement in all ages in the various testing programs?

The results of various testing programs such as the PARCC assessments need to be thoroughly examined so that the data can be used to inform teachers and staff about any deficiencies in student achievement and in order to implement any necessary interventions. We need to look carefully at how our high and low performing students are doing on the PARCC assessments so that the needs of all our students are addressed. Again, we must secure additional funding to implement interventions in order to assist all our struggling students.

Q: How has HCPSS performed in implementing the Common Core state standards? Should anything be done differently as the school system continues its implementation?

The results so far appear to be mixed, as Harford County still needs to secure full funding for education in order to successfully implement the Common Core. The school system so far has not received adequate funding for education. Additional funds and resources need to be provided for Common Core so that our teachers can be properly trained in its implementation. Problems with the implementation of Common Core must be addressed. In addition, adequate technology must be placed in our schools, such as the best computers and electronic devices, in order to successfully administer the PARCC assessments.

[7]

The Baltimore Sun, (2014), [8]

About the district

See also: Harford County Public Schools, Maryland
Harford County Public Schools is located in Harford County, Maryland
Harford County Public Schools is based in Bel Air, the county seat of Harford County, Maryland. Harford County is home to 249,215 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[9] Harford County Public Schools is the eighth-largest school district in Maryland, serving 38,224 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[10]

Demographics

Harford County underperformed in comparison to the rest of Maryland in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 31.5 percent of Harford County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 36.3 percent for Maryland as a whole. The median household income in Harford County was $80,441 compared to $72,999 for the state of Maryland. The poverty rate in Harford County was 7.5 percent compared to 9.4 percent for the entire state.[9]

Racial Demographics, 2012[9]
Race Harford County (%) Maryland (%)
White 81.4 60.8
Black or African American 13.1 30.0
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.3 0.5
Asian 2.8 6.0
Two or More Races 2.3 2.5
Hispanic or Latino 3.8 8.7

Party registration, 2014[11]
Party Number of registered voters
Republican 67,823
Democratic 62,655
Unaffiliated 29,607
Other 1,215
Libertarian 814
Green 316
Total 162,430

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.[12]

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