PLAINS TWP. — For years, Crestwood School Board Member Gene Mancini has been the sole representative of his district on the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technology Center Joint Operating Committee — a group of 11 representatives from five districts that runs the CTC.
A closer look at the rules regarding representation could give Crestwood a second seat at the JOC table, and Mancini says it looks like a change should have been done after the 2010 census.
Mancini points to a paragraph in the articles of incorporation that says JOC representation “will be changed allowing for a Joint Committee of 11 members to be selected by population on the basis of the latest United States census.”
Mancini said Crestwood Superintendent Dave McLaughlin-Smith compiled census data for the five member districts from 2000 and 2010 from the National Center for Education Statistics, and the numbers show Crestwood was the only one of the five to see an increase in population.
A Times Leader review of the NCES data showed that Crestwood’s population rose 9.4 percent while Greater Nanticoke Area dropped by 1.7 percent. Hanover Area dropped 3.5 percent, Pittston Area 2.4 percent and Wilkes-Barre Area 4.6 percent.
Currently, the JOC is comprised of five members from Wilkes-Barre Area, two each from Pittston Area and Greater Nanticoke, and one each from Hanover Area and Crestwood. Mancini has frequently been a minority of one in criticizing some decisions by the rest.
If you look at the percentage of population change, the argument that Crestwood should gain a JOC member and Greater Nanticoke should lose one makes intuitive sense. Crestwood gained population at 5 times the rate Nanticoke lost it.
A look at each district’s share of the total population among all five also favor’s Crestwood’s argument. In 2000, Crestwood had 12.6 percent of the total and Greater Nanticoke 13.4 percent. In 2010 it was 14.1 percent for Crestwood and 13.4 percent for Greater Nanticoke.
If you use a simple formula of five representatives for the district with the largest percentage of the total, two for the next two largest percentages, and one for the two smallest, Crestwood would still get a representative and Greater Nanticoke would lose one. The total population shift bumped Crestwood from fourth largest percentage to third.
“I’m not trying to push Nanticoke out of a seat,” Mancini said. “But to me the numbers speak for themselves.”
JOC Solicitor Jack Dean said Mancini is correct that representation is supposed to be based on the census. But, he said, “I have not been asked to review” the issue.