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11 Running For Crestwood School Board

By Amanda ChristmanMay 14, 2019

Voters in the Crestwood School District will pick five from a slate of 11 candidates running for a four-year term in office. Among them are incumbents President Bill Jones, Vice President Joseph Kaminski, Treasurer William Thomas and director Anna Hollock Bibla. Challengers include Jim Brogna, Stacy Haddix, Lauren E. McCurdy and Kimberly Spath, who are running together under a “United for Change,” campaign that lists restoring transparency, investing in education first, student safety, prudent spending, better communication and stable leadership and management as its goals. Newcomers running outside of a ticket are Dan Cornelius, Irene Webby and Tom Stavitzski. With the exception of McCurdy, each of the candidates cross-filed, meaning their names will appear on both the Republican and Democrat ballots. • Brogna said he and his family moved into the district 20 years ago primarily because of the quality of education. Within the past three years or so, Brogna said the district regressed “dramatically” in several ways, including poor decision making, wasteful spending and reduction of curriculum choices. It compelled him to run for school director. • Cornelius served the United States for more than 20 years with the Navy. He said the school board is doing a good job at getting the district back on track and he’d like to focus on improving finances and school security. Cornelius would also like to see an equal amount of focus on high school curriculum alternatives to traditional four-year colleges, such as Junior ROTC, business and vocational programs. • Haddix moved to Mountain Top six years ago because of the school district’s reputation. But she said she’s become frustrated and disappointed with the district’s leadership and feels that if the district continues on this path it will be a detriment to the success of children and to property values. • Hollock Bibla is ending a two-year term on the board and has a knowledge of special education, working within budgets and a work ethic she believes will continue to benefit the district. Hollock Bibla serves on the transportation, academic and co-curricular committees and she participated in the secondary campus schedule overhaul. • Jones has been on the board for about 12 years total. He wants to bring the district back to solid financial ground and he’s been working to get people what they are asking for, like Advanced Placement classes. Jones said two older elementary schools need to be replaced by one centrally located, safer elementary school near the high school. • Kaminski said his heart lies with the quality of education. He began attending school board meetings when his youngest son was in high school and found Crestwood only had three AP courses available — the lowest number in Luzerne County. Since then his goal has been to provide students with better opportunities. Since he was elected four years ago he’s been a member of the academic committee and the number of AP classes increased. • McCurdy graduated from Crestwood 20 years ago and since then the tax base has grown but the district is offering fewer options to students. There’s also overcrowded classes in the first “critical years” of education, she said. The mother of four children she’s been following the school board for five years and spent time listening to other parents. • Spath wants students to have the best possible education while being kept safe. Having attended school board meetings she has grown concerned with the board’s decisions in the past 18 months. • Stavitzski believes the board needs an honest voice who puts students and taxpayers first. An educator for 17 years with two master’s degrees, he believes he will add a unique perspective to the board. Stavitzski also has two young sons in elementary school. Over the past few years he feels the district stopped placing emphasis on education when it should be a priority, along with safer schools and fiscal responsibility. • Thomas served the board for 16 years and has a bachelor’s degree in economics. The father of two daughters said he’s a “low-key” leader but a firm supporter of quality student programs. He’s a supporter of full day kindergarten and of the district’s agreement with Siemens for a STEM center at the middle school library, along with having a school safety program and police protection. • Webby wants to ensure the district’s reputation for excellence endures by making “wise” decisions, communicating and working together. Webby wants to ensure high school courses are available for students to take no matter which path they choose after graduation. Contact the writer: achristman@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3584

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