Kiski Area's Region I race finds 3 competing for 2 seats
In less than a month, voters in Kiski Area School District Region I will have at least three choices to nominate two candidates in the May 21 primary.
David Anderson and Elizabeth Pollick Kovach, both incumbents, and political newcomer Carly Opaska are seeking two nominations in Region I. A write-in candidacy is possible.
Region I draws voters from Allegheny Township and the Washington Township's North Washington section.
Anderson, Kovach and Opaska said safety and budgetary questions are top issues.
Anderson said the board believes safety to be paramount. He pointed to the work that is under way to reinforce the entryway to Allegheny-Hyde Park Elementary School.
Additional precautions are in place, he said. More options are being considered and will be discussed at a public meeting sometime after the election, he said.
Kovach, who is a retired teacher, said an emergency plan has been in effect for years. The staff regularly meets with police and discuss potential problems, she said.
“Bad things can happen everywhere,” Opaska said.
The Hyde Park Elementary School work under way is needed and other changes may be needed, too, she said.The candidates agree that budget worries are an issue for all school districts.
The district's 2012-13 budget of $50.7 million is largely fueled by $22.3 million from local taxes.
The school board has taken a number of fiscal actions, including closing Bell-Avon Elementary School and Washington Elementary as part of a larger school construction and grade reconfiguration plan.
The district is coping with state budget cuts from Gov. Corbett, Kovach said.“We've tightened up spending, but our first responsibility remains the students,” she said.
Kovach praised teachers for previously extending their contract and accepting wage restructuring. “I'm very proud of our teachers,” she said.Anderson said the board is closely watching potential employee retirements and other costs while looking for ways to keep the basic curriculum relevant to students.
The VND reported in March that Kiski Area had the A-K Valley's fourth-lowest graduation rate, at 87.3 percent, although that's still almost 5 percent above the state's average graduation rate.
Opaska said she is “taken aback” by that number.
“Our graduation percentage is going up, but it's still below the state average and we want to change that,” Anderson said.
“We are evaluating where we are strong and where we're weak,” Kovach said.
In another matter, Opaska believes district class sizes are too large — particularly for the youngest students — and that makes a teacher's job tougher.
According to the state, the district has an average of 22 students for every teacher.
Fewer students per teacher should be the rule for elementary-age students, Opaska believes, but there are more students per teacher than last school year. Budgetary pressure is understandable, she said, but administrators should do more to reduce class size for youngsters.
Kovach said the district is working to equalize class sizes to benefit children. The improvements should be seen, she said, when classes resume this fall.
“It would be great if we could do it, but the expense is too much,” Anderson said. “And a 22 to 1 ratio is not a bad ratio.
“Elementary school size was reconfigured to equalize the numbers,” Anderson said. “Before, we had some schools with an 18 to 1 ratio and some with a 28 to 1 ratio.”
“The 22 to 1 ration may be true for some grades,” Opaska said. “It's still very off whack for others.”
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Kensington slaying victims identified
- Lower Burrell teen uses operatic gift to support Alzheimer’s charity
- Allegheny Valley School Board gives raises
- 2 dead in New Kensington shooting; woman says male victim her ex-husband
- Freeport Bridge reopens, Route 356 traffic still affected
- Creditors prefer Rock Airport bankruptcy plan
- Pittsburgh eagle webcam closes down for year
- Kiski Valley project won’t be done on time
- Cambodian students answer Oakmont group’s prayers
- West Deer supervisor accused of ethics violation