5 are cross-filed for 4 Gateway School Board seats
Five candidates are cross-filed on the Democratic and Republican ballots for four nominations for seats on the Gateway School Board in the May 16 primary
Board President Scott Williams is the only incumbent running. Other candidates are Jesse Kalkstein, Brian Goppman, Rick McIntyre and B. Devon Pachete.
Williams, 52, a long-time board member, said he still has goals to complete.
“When you start something, you want to see it through,” said Williams, who was elected to the board in 2001.
He said that the board should be focusing on “tidying up what has been changed over the years.”
Williams said the board is already off to a good start after the last year's hiring of Superintendent Bill Short and Assistant Superintendents Dennis Chakey and Guy Rossi.
Next, Williams said, is working with administration to bring up test scores and continue work on beautification projects at the schools to entice families to want to move into the district.
“Gateway is on sale every day,” Williams said. “We want to have proud schools that give students the best experience through education and extracurricular activities.”
McIntyre, 40, said he got into the race to help steer the board in the right direction in hopes of allowing students, teachers, and district employees to thrive.
“We have to make sure all students have the same opportunities,” McIntyre said, adding that he wants to attack the achievement gap issues facing the district where black students are performing at significantly lower levels than white students.
The father of one also wants to initiate more anti-bullying measures within the district.
McIntyre believes it's the board's responsibility to make an investment in the district's educators.
“I want to make sure (the school board has) enough money in the teachers' contract that is fair to everyone and benefits the community,” McIntyre said.
He said he's not a politician.
“I promise to put politics aside and be a voice for the people,” McIntyre said.
Kalkstein, 29, a lifelong Monroeville resident, said he's running for the future generation, mainly his 16-month-old son.
“Our decisions today will affect his experiences in the future. We need to make it a great place for him to learn,” Kalkstein said.
He said that instead of complaining, he's going to help restore Gateway to academic excellence and give students and teachers access to new technology — while operating under the board's budget.
His conversations with other residents lead him to believe that the community is not satisfied with the board in place now.
“Some people are frustrated with the direction the board is headed,” Kalkstein said. “I'm going to be aware, but I'm not going to meddle. We should let the teachers teach, the students learn and the administration administrate.”
Goppman, 30, is a former Gateway student who said he will be valuable to the board because he has experienced both sides of the equation — as a pupil and a substitute teacher.
Goppman wants to focus on bullying, get more use out of the high school's planetarium and bring back interactive science programming like the district had in the past.
Pachete, 42, said he entered the race because the board pushes personal agendas, not plans that benefit students.
“I'm tired of the bickering,” Pachete said.
He said he wants to bring back physical education programs that are “actually physical” because schools have taken away activities such as the timed mile and push-up contests.
“Nothing is competitive anymore because someone might get left out,” Pachete said. “It's unreal to me.”
He said that on the board he will advise the district to maintain its lunch program.
“An outside food service company would make the cost of lunch go up and would make our lunch personnel (unemployed). The program pays for itself,” he said.
Pachete also said he is against a recent proposal to hire a social worker to help students who are having difficulty keeping up with their peers.
“We should use that money for a mentoring program for the kids who are doing well to help with the other kids. We can do much better with our own kids helping,” Pachete said.
Samson X Horne is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.