Share This Page

District merger not on radar for Apollo-Ridge school board candidates

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 1:11 a.m.

Apollo-Ridge School District has only about 1,400 students, but none of the district's candidates for school board see a need to merge with any other districts.

“To take two districts that are small and combine them, it won't solve many of the issues,” said incumbent Dominick Duso. “You still have to have buy books, you still have to have teachers.

“It was once in fad and once made sense. I'm not sure it does anymore.”

Duso, an eight-year member of the board, is one of five candidates for four director's positions. All five candidates are on both the Republican and Democratic ballots.

While Duso doesn't think it makes sense to combine two small districts, he does believe that the districts in Armstrong County should re-examine where students are going to school.

“We have kids that live close to our high school and our facilities that are being bused to much farther districts,” he said. “I think it makes much more sense to redistrict students to go to school that is closer to where they live.”

Daniel Obriot, who's been on the school board for seven years, said he wouldd never consider allowing Apollo-Ridge to join with another district.

“Not on my watch,” he said. “I love Apollo-Ridge. I grew up here.

“I want to make sure our district and our area stay united and stay strong.”

Obriot said he thinks the district has advantages, such as smaller class sizes, that students in other districts don't get.

Paul King, who was appointed to the board in March, agreed that Apollo-Ridge should stay as is.

“We're small in numbers, not small in area,” he said. “You're talking about some kids on 45-minute to hour-long bus rides if you combine with another district.

“We need to manage the resources we have,” he said. “We need to keep the district viable.”

Duso said he hopes Apollo-Ridge will regain some of its state funding.

“A district like Apollo-Ridge is a lot more dependent on the state than other districts,” he said. “In the last couple of years, we've had 14 percent of our budget cut.

“We've made a lot of cuts,” he added. “The idea that you're just cutting ‘fat' works for a while, but we've definitely cut ‘need.'

“We've done a lot of good things with a small budget.”

Incumbent Jim Ferguson and challenger Aaron Broman did not return multiple calls for comment on this story.

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer.

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.