MOUNT CARMEL - William J. Brecker Jr. has announced his candidacy for the Mount Carmel Area School Board.

Brecker, originally from Kulpmont, resides in Mount Carmel with his wife, the former Stacey Corona, and children William III and Samuel. He is a son of William and Patricia Brecker, of Kulpmont.

Brecker has been employed with Northumberland County Human Services since 1995. He coordinates children and adolescent behavioral health services in Northumberland County. He was previously a supervisor for Northumberland County Juvenile Probation and Children and Youth Services.

He is a member of the Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania, where he serves on the Early Childhood Mental Health and School Based Behavioral Health subcommittees. He is also an advisory board member for the Shikellamy School District 21st Century after-school program.

Brecker is a parishioner of the Church of Our Lady, Mount Carmel, where he serves on the parish council, and is a member of the Kulpmont Sportsmen's Association.

Brecker feels that he is an ideal school board candidate. "I was born and raised within the Mount Carmel School District, lived here most of my life, am raising my children here, and thus far have spent my entire professional career making important decisions affecting the safety and well-being of children.

"My current job consists of working within all Northumberland County school districts. I have a good feel for the needs of students and roles of school staff. I see firsthand what works well for school districts and what does not. I also see how MCA compares to other districts. Considering the influx of poverty, blight, drugs, and crime into our district, MCA is doing well. Our campus, facilities, staff, music, athletics and arts programs are exceptional and give students the opportunity to succeed.

"However, I am concerned about MCA being able to sustain success if the cutting trend continues. I understand the state budget situation that resulted in significant funding decreases for school districts, but do not feel the elimination of school staff and programs is the best answer. If elected, I will actively seek alternative ways to absorb funding cuts.

"Open communication with school staff, students and parents could lead to compromise or creative ideas. Perhaps those involved with volleyball would have been open to paying a fee or organizing fundraisers in lieu of entering a co-op agreement. Perhaps, to retain quality faculty, keep the swimming pool open, or bring back pre-kindergarten, the tax increase elephant in the room could be explored.

"As a school board member, it would not be my responsibility to make these decisions. I would to listen to the residents of the Mount Carmel School District and vote on these matters accordingly. As a taxpayer, if it directly translated into not taking away meaningful opportunities for students, I would consider the tax increase a future investment."

Brecker, a lifelong Democrat, is the only Mount Carmel School Board candidate to not cross-file. He will be seeking enough Democratic votes in the May primary to move on to the November election.