Only six of Luzerne County’s 11 school board races had more candidates than seats available, and five of those had candidates outnumber seats by one. All results are unofficial.
Pittston Area had the most competitive race, with six candidates vying for four seats. Former board member Marty Quinn and current incumbent Bruce Knick had spots on both party tickets and won easily. Incumbent R. Kent Bratlee and former board member John Adonizio had the two remaining spots on the Democratic ticket, giving them the inside track in the heavily Democratic district for wins over incumbent Marilyn Starna and newcomer Rosanne Ricotta, who fell nearly 240 votes short of Bratlee’s fourth-highest total.
Wilkes-Barre Area voters had the chance to elect four newcomers to the board, with Christine Katsock the lone incumbent seeking reelection. Katsock had a position on both party tickets, and won easily. She will be joined by two newcomers who also won both nominations: retired district teacher and guidance counselor Joe Caffery and current part-time district attendance officer Denise Thomas, who must resign her job with the win. Ned Evans had the best odds of picking up the fourth seat, having a spot on the Democratic ticket, and did so handily, beating Kathy Grinaway on the Republican side and nearly netting as many votes as Katsock. Independent Sam Troy came in sixth.
Crestwood had five candidates for four seats, with newcomers Maureen McGovern and Randy Swank and incumbent Norb Dotzel Jr. on both tickets winning spots on the board. That left incumbent Eric Aigeldinger on the Republican side outpacing newcomer Peter Strecker on the Democratic slate by 308 votes, according to unofficial results.
Greater Nanticoke Area was the only district with five seats open: Newcomers Wendy Kotsko Wiaterowski and Megan Tennesen joined incumbents Frank Shepanski Jr. and Bob Raineri in winning both party nominations in the primary, leaving the battle between two incumbents: Cindy Donlin on the Republican ticket and Gary Smith on the Democratic ticket. Smith won, nearly doubling Donlin’s vote tally in the end, according to unofficial results.
Hazleton Area proved a source of high drama in the primary election when Luzerne County failed to notify neighboring Schuylkill and Carbon counties that Steve Hahn had withdrawn from the race, leaving Hahn’s name on the ballot in those two counties. A special election was held in the two counties to rectify the problem and 12-year incumbent Carmella Yenkevich, who was ousted in the initial, flawed results, landed a spot on Tuesday’s Democratic ticket, facing off with newcomer Jared O’Donnell on the Republican slate. The other candidates all had won both party nominations in the primary: incumbents Bob Mehalick and Clarence John and newcomer James Chapman. In the end, the primary election reprieve apparently wasn’t enough, as Yenkevich was in a distant fifth place with only a four Schuylkill County precincts yet to be counted as of press time.
Wyoming Area had three candidates appearing on both tickets: Newcomer Jerry Stofko and incumbents John Bolin and John Marianacci, leaving the race between newcomer Kimberly Yochem on the Republican side and former board member Nick DeAngelo on the Democratic ballot. In the end, Yochem won by more than 200 votes, according to unofficial results.
In the other five races, the candidates had no competition barring a successful write-in campaign, an unlikely event. Write-in results will not be known until later, usually by Friday.
Dallas had four candidates and four seats: newcomers Sherril Newell and Jeff Thomas, and incumbents Charles Preece and Karen Kyle.
Hanover Area had four seats and four candidates: incumbents Evelyn Larson Evans, Lorraine Heydt and Frank Ciavarella Jr., and newcomer Stacy Ann McGovern.
Lake-Lehman is one of only two Luzerne County districts that elects by region, with incumbent Kevin Carey the lone candidate for Region one, newcomer Robin Wesley alone in seeking the seat for region two and incumbents Andrew Salko and David Paulauskas the only candidates for two seats available in region 3.
Northwest Area had only three candidates, all incumbents, on the ballot for four seats, meaning a write in candidate will probably land a seat: Peter Lanza, Michael Kreidler and Alton Farver.
Wyoming Valley West, the other district electing members by region, once again lacked any competition All four candidates are incumbents: James Fender in region 2, Gordon Dussinger in region 5, Gary Evans in region 6 and Gary Richards — who won as a write-in candidate in the primary — in region 7.