7 candidates file for Penn Hills School Board seats
Carl Barbarino said he'd like to continue as a Penn Hills School Board member but can't because his employer, PNC Bank, put new restrictions on bank officers seeking to hold public office.
“They feel it could restrain the bank from being able to do business with public entities that a person holding office might represent,” said Barbarino, who is finishing his first term on the board. He was board president for two years.
Barbarino's seat will be one of four up for election. Seven candidates have filed to run: incumbent members Robert Hudak and Jennifer Burgess-Johnson, along with Pauline Calabrese, Linda Molitierno, William Phifer, Kelly Smithson and former board member Erin Vecchio.
Board Vice President Carolyn Faggioli also opted not to seek re-election, in part because she didn't receive the endorsement she was seeking from the Penn Hills Democratic Committee.
“I'm not going away, though,” she said. Faggioli has served two terms on the school board.
Burgess-Johnson was appointed to her seat when former board member Linda Gallo stepped down in April 2012.
“I decided to run because I am still committed to restoring excellence in education through accountability, belief in the educational success of every student and communication,” she said.
“Penn Hills has made great strides, with positive things going on in every school on every grade level, but there is still work to do.”
“I want to be the person who holds (the district) accountable for the actions that are going on,” said Vecchio, who fell short in a 2011 bid for school board, council and mayoral seats. “They're spending too much money on buildings and not enough on education.”
Vecchio said she opposes the consolidated elementary center the district is constructing.
“I didn't vote for that mega-elementary school, because I didn't think it was necessary. I like the small elementary schools,” she said. “We're losing people, not gaining them, so why they're building this mega-elementary is beyond me.”
Hudak said his goal is to give district teachers “the opportunity to find special talents in our students, whether it's math, music or whatever it may be. I want to help provide them with the means to find that talent.”
Hudak is finishing his second term on the board, and has been involved with the district either through teaching, volunteering or serving on school board since 1966.
“The way the district goes, so goes the community,” Hudak said, adding he felt district schools did not deserve their unflattering reputation.
“The education and the opportunities are there for the students who choose to utilize them,” he said.
The Penn Hills Democratic Committee in late February endorsed Calabrese, Molitierno, Hudak and Burgess-Johnson; however all candidates are cross-filed and will appear on both Democrat and Republican ballots in the May 21 primary. The Penn Hills Republican Committee could not be reached regarding any possible endorsements.
The top four candidates chosen by Democratic and Republican voters will be on the ballot in November.
Calabrese, Phifer and Smithson couldn't be reached for comment. Molitierno declined to comment.
Barbarino, an operations processing manager for PNC Mortgage, said he was set to run but PNC's updated ethics policy requires potential political candidates to go through an approval process. PNC's code of ethics, available online, requires employees to obtain prior approval from the corporate ethics office.
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.