The Times Leader is featuring an article in today's paper about eight the candidates vying for the four seats up for grabs on the Hazleton Area School Board.
I am very familiar with two of the candidates seeking those seats, Rocco Formica and Clarence John.
Formica says providing children with the best possible educational experience will be his top goal if he is elected.
Formica, an adjunct faculty member in science at Luzerne County Community College, said the community needs to invest in the education of children.
“It is our responsibility to spend education dollars efficiently and effectively,” said Formica, a Hazleton native who has been employed in the field of education for nearly 40 years.
Formica, who graduated with Bachelor of Science and master of education degrees at Penn State University, said he is qualified to take on the challenges as school director. Formica is a retired high school science teacher.
“For me, there was no better feeling than helping our children learn and go on to be successful in their adult lives,” said Formica, who educated nearly 4,500 students.
Formica said some of his ideas include:
Investing wisely in remediation for students in reading, writing and arithmetic
Providing awareness of the Hazleton Area Career Center for students in elementary and intermediate levels
Continuing to support and expand the Advanced Placement curriculum
In addition to academic excellence, Formica said he has two other goals if he were to hold the position as school director. Those goals are fiscal responsibility and fairness in hiring, he said.
Formica said his 25 years of serving as secondary science department chairman served him well in “scrutinizing district spending.”
Formica said negotiating fair employment contracts that ensure the hiring of well-qualified faculty is paramount.
Wages and benefits earned by school employees should reflect today’s economy, he said.
“I am well aware that maintaining the proper balance between providing our children with a first class education and keeping the lid on spending is extremely delicate,” Formica said. “However, this is a tight rope in which I am fully committed to walk.”
Clarence John is principal of the Hazleton Area Career Center. He has spent 40+ years in education. Clarence is a proponent of eradicating "unacceptable behavior"by students. In April he asked the school board to hire a state police officer with the funding from the COPS grant program. The sheer size of the campus where the 9th Grade Center and the high school are located provide logistical problems for the security department. The district has twice hired school cops but both resigned that position.
Both candidates would make excellent choices for the board. There has been too much bickering among the board members for a long time. It is a fact that any majority of the Hazleton Area School Board has not survived an election in over 20 years.