RICHBORO >> Bob Hickey, of Richboro, has announced his candidacy for Council Rock School Board Director in Region 3. The region encompasses Northampton Township Voting Districts 1, 11, and 15, and includes neighborhoods primarily in Richboro and Holland.
The seat is currently held by Denise Brooks. Hickey is running as a candidate on both the Democratic and Republican ballots in the May 18 primary.
Hickey has been married to his wife, Maureen, for 38 years, and has resided in Richboro for more than 28 years. They have eight children, who have all gone through the Council Rock School District.
Hickey is a graduate of Temple University with a B.S. in secondary education and has more than 30 years of corporate managerial experience in both the service and electronics industries. He has also taught social studies at two Archdiocesan high schools.
Much like raising a large family, Hickey said he understands the balancing act needed for long term success and the necessary give and take needed to meet the needs of district residents, students and their families.
Hickey’s first involvement with the Council Rock School Board came as a result of Northampton students, specifically Richboro Middle School students, being separated from their peers when entering high school. They were the only group discriminated against and the effects of this separation became more severe with each passing year, he said.
After several years of witnessing the negative impact of dividing the smallest portion of students heading to high school, Hickey co-chaired a group in 2012 that successfully worked with the Council Rock Superintendent and Council Rock School Board to ensure all Richboro Middle School students were no longer split from their classmates between the high schools. This hard fought and well-implemented solution continued for over seven years, and ended only when Richboro Middle School was closed.
"This grass roots movement was a lesson never lost on me and from that experience I have remained steadfast and vigilant in my belief that far too many times the interests and needs of the residents in our school board region are not being met," said Hickey.
These strong convictions coupled with his genuine concern for the children in his community, led Hickey to enter the race for School Board director in 2017. That year, he won the election against incumbent Denise Brooks by two votes but during the official vote count it was discovered that the Board of Elections had mistakenly sent the wrong absentee ballots to two voters. Both the Board of Elections and the Bucks County Board of Commissioners determined that the votes should be counted for Hickey.
Brooks, however, challenged the final vote in court and Judge Jeffrey Finley overturned the official count and ruled that the two deciding votes could not be counted. Brooks retained her seat by winning a marble tie breaker
Four years later, Hickey said he believes that poor decisions have left the school district vulnerable on many levels.
“Our community has been told numerous times to wait for necessary renovations," said Hickey. "Students have been taken out of their neighborhood school and redistricted, as in the recent situation involving Richboro Elementary students being moved to Wrightstown Elementary.”
"As your school board director, I will continue to be a strong advocate for this community’s needs and will work to incorporate those needs into larger district-wide goals," said Hickey. "This includes getting students safely back in our classrooms on a full-time basis, and keeping students in school all day, every day.”
In addition to teaching, Hickey has worked with many of the kids in his community on a personal level, having spent the past 25 years coaching a variety of sports. Presently he serves as a member of the St. Bede CYO Board and Pre-Cana team.
"Having had a child in the Council Rock School District for 26 consecutive years has given me a unique perspective of where the district has been and where it is heading," said Hickey. "This is an opportunity to give back to the district that has been so beneficial to my eight children. I am concerned that Council Rock is currently satisfied with being just one of the best school districts in the state, instead of THE best school district in the state.”
Hickey said the school board needs a representative "who truly understands that there are ways to continue the outstanding education that Council Rock provides while doing so in a much more fiscally responsible way. He also knows that his fellow residents have been taxed to the point that many long-time neighbors simply cannot afford to stay in their homes.
"As I approach retirement age, I am keenly aware of the detrimental effect that rising taxes have had on our senior population," said Hickey. "I believe that as your next school board director, I have the knowledge and experience to make the tough, responsible decisions necessary to bridge the gap between the wants of the district and the needs of the taxpayer.
“I believe that I can provide the voters of our region with the opportunity to select a fresh, independent father and businessman who will effectively evaluate the best way to balance both the educational and fiscal factors involved in running an efficient school district.” said Hickey. “I am the School Board candidate who is singularly positioned to make those critical decisions necessary to keep Council Rock a place where people want to live, work and send their children to school.”