Last updated: October 06. 2013 10:42PM - 2522 Views
By - jandes@timesleader.com

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Sam Troy has obtained the nomination signatures needed to run as an Independent in the Nov. 5 Wilkes-Barre Area School Board race.

Troy, 64, a resident of the Heights section of Wilkes-Barre for more than 26 years, was required to obtain at least 137 signatures to get on the ballot after the primary and submitted 173, according to the county election office.

Four school board seats are up for grabs.

Candidates Denise Thomas, Joe Caffrey and Christine Katsock won both Democratic and Republican nominations in May, which virtually assures them of a victory next month.

Ned Evans received the fourth Democratic nomination in May, with 1,552 votes, and Kathy Grinaway secured the last Republican nomination in the primary with 431 votes, according to the certified results.

Troy said he received 3,029 votes in the 2011 general election when he ran for Wilkes-Barre Area School Board as an Independent.

To put that in perspective, the vote count ranged from 5,275 to 6,827 for the five candidates who secured school board seats in that 2011 Wilkes-Barre Area race. Grinaway came in sixth in that race, with 4,120 votes.

Describing himself as a “protest and reform candidate,” Troy said he believes he has a “substantial chance of victory” this time around because “so many residents and taxpayers of the district are disenchanted with the antics of the current board.”

Troy said he has regularly attended board meetings for several years and has been an outspoken critic of the board’s “obliviousness to and ignorance of the plight of the taxpayers.”

“Some residents and taxpayers of this district are struggling to hold on to their properties and even to put food on the table while this board gladly doles out outrageous salaries and benefits to its administrators, solicitor and many other employees,” he said.

Troy has a master’s degree in English from the University of Scranton and taught English at various local colleges. He is currently a yoga instructor.

If elected, Troy promises to fight property tax increases and seek decreases “by curbing the reckless spending habits that have characterized the past several fiscal years.”

He said the current budget has no tax increase but is a “blueprint for disaster” because it carries a $1.8 million deficit and does not factor in rising health care costs or possible increases from current teacher contract negotiations.

“I will help to restore integrity, transparency and accountability to this board while working to raise academic standards, which have been declining at an alarming rate,” Troy said in his campaign announcement.

He also vows to end nepotism and revamp the board’s hiring policy to “allow for fairness and enhance minority opportunities.”

Troy, who also unsuccessfully ran for Wilkes-Barre City Council in 2011, said he refuses to accept campaign contributions and won’t be holding fundraising events.

He encourages citizens to contact him at 570-235-9280.

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