State College Area school board candidate profiles: Dave Cannon

Posted by Ed Mahon | on November 2, 2011 

Dave Cannon, 55, is a Penn State professor whose three children have graduated from the district.

  “The priorities for the school district are the curricular and the extra curricular activities. ...So what we need to do is always work toward achieving excellence for the students, being excellent both in terms of being able to get content … but also in terms of being able to become really good at something,” Cannon said at an AAUW and forum in October.

He then spoke in favor of the board’s recent decision to eliminate in-car driver’s education, as an indicator of his overall philosophy.

“Driver’s ed is not something that’s in other schools in other states,” Cannon said at that forum. “Most states handle that just like you’d handle anything else — in the private sector.”

Cannon also has said he supports the use vouchers for private schools in a limited capacity, specifically if a district is growing and it doesn’t have the enough room in its facilities to meet the demand.

Current status: Challenger seeking a spot on the board.

Political party: He’s a registered Republican. Like all of the candidates except Lydia Glick, he cross filed in the primary election. But he only won the Republican nomination.

“I said I was fiscally responsible, well, that happened to resonate a lot more with one party than it did with a different party, and I ended up being where I am. But when I go door to door an awful lot of Democrats are fiscally responsible and they really like my management approach,” said Cannon, who also referenced his professional background. “Industrial engineering is all about how to achieve your goals within the means that you have or at least get a big bang for the buck.”

A decision or issue he thought the board handled well:

“The tone was more congenial. They set a good tone. And that sometimes actually is part of good management,” Cannon said.

A decision or issue he thought the board should have handled differently: At public forums and in interviews, he’s criticized a previous board’s decision to enter into a qualified interest rate management agreement with the Royal Bank of Canada — a deal that could cost the district about $10 million.

But he hasn’t said if he agrees with the current board’s decision to file a lawsuit — or to not terminate the agreement years ago.

In an interview, he declined to discuss any issues he thought the board should have handled differently.

“I’m going to be working with these people. I want to do well with them. So I have some real good management ideas, for how you can do things really well, but I’m not going to get specific,” he said, later adding, “ I don’t really want to be pointing out shortcomings of colleagues that I’m going to be working with, but I do have a lot of ideas.”


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