The race for Wilkes-Barre Area School Board drew the most interest among Luzerne County’s 11 school districts, a review of nominating petitions filed by Tuesday’s 4:30 deadline suggested.
The official list of candidates likely won’t be available until Friday, and with a crowded field of local offices this year, it appears several petitions were not provided when The Times Leader asked to review them. For example, there were no candidates for Northwest Area, where four incumbent seats are up for re-election, yet Board President Randy Tomasacci — who is not one of those up for re-election — said it was his understanding all four incumbents had filed to run again.
But of those petitions reviewed at the county’s election bureau, Wilkes-Barre Area had the most candidates: 10 people competing for four open seats.
Anthony Thomas — who said he is no relation to former Wilkes-Barre City Councilman Tony Thomas — filed the last school board petition Tuesday, just minutes before the deadline.
Thomas filed to run only as a Democrat, while James O’Meara, of Plains Township, filed to run for Wilkes-Barre Area School Board as a Republican.
The lone incumbent in the pile of paperwork provided at the election Bureau Tuesday was Christine Katsock, who cross-filed and will appear on both ballots, along with Barry Matthews, Kathleen Grinaway, Ned Evans, Denise Thomas, Joseph Caffrey, Joseph Bernardo, and Leonard Cornish.
Cornish has been a frequent critic of the district’s failure to recruit minority teachers.
Here are the candidates’ petitions found for other districts. Four seats are open in all but Greater Nanticoke Area, where there are five seats available. All candidates cross-filed unless otherwise noted.
Crestwood: The lone petition in the pile was for Maureen McGovern.
Dallas: Incumbent Charles Preece.
Greater Nanticoke Area: Incumbents Frank Shepanski Jr., Gary Smith, Jeff Kozlofski, Cindy Donlin and Bob Reineri, and Megan Tennesen and Wendy Wiaterowski.
Hanover Area: No nominating petitions were found amid the piles provided.
Hazleton Area: Incumbents Clarence John, Steven Hahn and Robert Mehalick, and Thomas Chirico, James Chapman, Jared Michael O’Donnell and Frederick Mariano.
Lake-Lehman: One of only two districts that elect board members by region — and often one of the least competitive — only Robin Wesley’s petition was among those provided. Wesley, who is running for region 2, filed near the end of the day after learning earlier his paperwork was not complete. He said incumbent region 2 representative Bo Keller was not seeking re-election.
Northwest Area: No nominating petitions were found among those provided.
Pittston Area: Incumbents Bruce Knick, Kent Bratlee and Marilyn Starna filed, though Starna’s petition was marked as Democratic only. Former Member John Adonizio filed as Democratic only. Martin Quinn and Rosanne Ricotta also filed.
Wyoming Area: Incumbents John Marianacci and John Bolin, and John Bonin, Kimberly Yochem and Michael Brown.
Wyoming Valley West: The other district that elects by district, paperwork only for incumbent Gordon Dussinger of region 5 was among those provided.