Pennsylvania school boards to see large turnover

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October 31, 2013


By Kayla McCann

Sixteen of the top enrollment districts in Pennsylvania, including its second-largest, Pittsburgh Public Schools, will hold elections on November 5, 2013 for a total of 68 seats. Just 37 of the 98 candidates vying for the open school board seats are incumbents, thereby guaranteeing that at least nearly half of the seats will be won by newcomers. Therefore, school boards in the state will generally see significant turnover following the general election. School board elections in Pennsylvania are partisan races and each district held a primary election on May 21, 2013.

With the election approaching, candidates are highlighting the issues that impact their particular district, instead of issues affecting the whole state. Still, budget gaps and debates regarding financial responsibility are the most prominent and consistent issues facing Pennsylvania districts, including Downingtown Area School District and Central Dauphin School District. School board candidates in Allentown City School District and Reading School District have also drawn attention to academic performance issues and poor graduation rates in those districts.[1][2] Other candidates, such as those in Pennsbury School District, are debating over support for teacher unions and tax increases.[3]

Spotlight: North Penn School District

Eight candidates are vying for the four open seats on the North Penn school board. Significant partisanship in the race has resulted in the formation of two competing slates of challengers: Next S.T.E.P. versus Republican candidates. Next S.T.E.P. is a North Penn organization determined to put progressive candidates on the school board.[4] Murali Balaji, Paul Edelman, Jr., Alex Ryabin and Tina Stoll are all Next S.T.E.P. candidates running on the Democratic ticket. Incumbents Timothy S. Kerr, Vincent Sherpinsky and Frank O'Donnell and former member Josie Charnock are running on the Republican ticket. The board currently includes seven Republicans and two Democrats. With four seats open, the board majority could shift from Republican to Democratic control even if only three Democratic candidates win. The newly elected board will need to address several issues in the district. This is the final year of the collective bargaining agreement between the North Penn school board and the North Penn Education Association, which will require the new board to negotiate with the teacher’s union beginning in January. Additionally, the school board will confront budgetary issues, new testing procedures and an ongoing charter school debate within the district.[5]


Allentown City
School District

UncheckedBox.jpg Debra Lamb
UncheckedBox.jpg David Zimmerman
UncheckedBox.jpg Ellen Bishop
UncheckedBox.jpg Mike Welsh
UncheckedBox.jpg Kenneth Woolley Jr.

Bethlehem Area
School District

UncheckedBox.jpg Michael E. Faccinetto
UncheckedBox.jpg Shannon Patrick
UncheckedBox.jpg Angela T. Sinkler

Region 1
UncheckedBox.jpg Rogelio Ortiz

Region 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Shannon Patrick

Central Bucks
School District

Region 4
UncheckedBox.jpg Jerel P. Wohl

Region 5
UncheckedBox.jpg Paul B. Faulkner

Region 7
UncheckedBox.jpg Stephen Corr

Region 9
UncheckedBox.jpg John Gamble

Central Dauphin
School District

Region 1
UncheckedBox.jpg Brian Faleshock
UncheckedBox.jpg Erin Grady

Region 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Eric Epstein
UncheckedBox.jpg Linda Dallago

Region 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Jay Purdy
UncheckedBox.jpg Chris Judd

Council Rock
School District

Region 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Denise Brooks

Region 6
UncheckedBox.jpg Mark Byelich
UncheckedBox.jpg Edward Mayer

Region 8
UncheckedBox.jpg Andy Block

Region 9
UncheckedBox.jpg Kyle Mckessy

Downingtown Area
School District

Region 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Barbara Hurt-Simmons

Region 4
UncheckedBox.jpg John Ganski
UncheckedBox.jpg Bob Yorczyk

Region 6
UncheckedBox.jpg Suzanne DiVito Simonelli
UncheckedBox.jpg Dawn Richter

Region 8
UncheckedBox.jpg Steve Wisniewski

Erie City
School District

UncheckedBox.jpg Edward Brzezinski
UncheckedBox.jpg John Dundon
UncheckedBox.jpg Angela Euell-McNair
UncheckedBox.jpg Mary Frances Schenley
UncheckedBox.jpg Tom Spagel

Hazleton Area
School District

UncheckedBox.jpg Bob Mehalick
UncheckedBox.jpg Clarence John
UncheckedBox.jpg James G. Chapman
UncheckedBox.jpg Carmella Yenkevich
UncheckedBox.jpg Jared M. O'Donnell

School District

UncheckedBox.jpg Harvey Miller
UncheckedBox.jpg Radames Melendez
UncheckedBox.jpg Adam Schott
UncheckedBox.jpg Fanny Castellanos
UncheckedBox.jpg Paul Culbreth

North Penn
School District

UncheckedBox.jpg Tina Stoll
UncheckedBox.jpg Murali Balaji
UncheckedBox.jpg Josie Charnock
UncheckedBox.jpg Timothy S. Kerr
UncheckedBox.jpg Vincent Sherpinsky
UncheckedBox.jpg Alex Ryabin
UncheckedBox.jpg Paul Edelman, Jr.
UncheckedBox.jpg Frank O'Donnell

School District

Region 1
UncheckedBox.jpg Simon Campbell
UncheckedBox.jpg Susan Simon
UncheckedBox.jpg Debra Wachspress
UncheckedBox.jpg Joshua L. Waldorf

Region 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Casey Lawrence
UncheckedBox.jpg Skip Tenney
UncheckedBox.jpg Alison Smith
UncheckedBox.jpg Debra E. DeBlasio

Pittsburgh Public Schools
District 1
UncheckedBox.jpg Sylvia Wilson

District 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Thomas Sumpter

District 5
UncheckedBox.jpg Terry Kennedy

District 7
UncheckedBox.jpg Cynthia Falls

District 9
UncheckedBox.jpg Carolyn Klug

Pocono Mountain
School District

Region 1
UncheckedBox.jpg Annabella Lastowski
UncheckedBox.jpg Dawn Wood

Region 2
UncheckedBox.jpg John Coyle
UncheckedBox.jpg Ricky D. Smith

Region 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Leigh Stelzer
UncheckedBox.jpg Michael A. Stern

Reading School District
UncheckedBox.jpg Abraham J. Cepeda
UncheckedBox.jpg Robin Costenbader-Jacobson
UncheckedBox.jpg Manuel Guzman
UncheckedBox.jpg Eddie Moran
UncheckedBox.jpg Yvonne L. Stroman
UncheckedBox.jpg Brian Twyman

Scranton School District
UncheckedBox.jpg Robert Casey
UncheckedBox.jpg Mark McAndrew
UncheckedBox.jpg Cy Douaihy
UncheckedBox.jpg Bob Sheridan
UncheckedBox.jpg Bob Lesh
UncheckedBox.jpg Carol Oleski

Two year term
UncheckedBox.jpg Bob Lesh
UncheckedBox.jpg Kyle Donahue

West Chester Area School District
UncheckedBox.jpg Maria Pimley
UncheckedBox.jpg Sean Carpenter
UncheckedBox.jpg Edward Coyle
UncheckedBox.jpg Pam LaTorre
UncheckedBox.jpg Joyce Chester
UncheckedBox.jpg Robin Kaliner
UncheckedBox.jpg Chris McCune
UncheckedBox.jpg Ricky L. Swalm

See also