ELLWOOD CITY — Seven people including four incumbents are running in Tuesday’s election for five open seats on the Ellwood City Area School Board.
There will be at least one new face on the board because school director Michael Neupauer’s term ends at the end of the year and he chose not to run for re-election.
The incumbents running are board President Jennifer Tomon and members Erica Sutkowski Gray, Leroy J. Cortez and Danielle Woodhead. Also running are two former school directors Kathleen Pansera and Gary Rozanski and Jean Biehls, who is making her first run for public office.
Here is a look at each candidate and what they say their top priorities for this next four-year term would be:
– Biehls, 75, of Ellport is a retired public school teacher. Her priority would be to partner with the community and businesses to give every child in Ellwood City the education they need for their future. Biehls said she will support any programs that help fulfill the needs of students.
– Cortez, 61, of Wayne Township is a supervisor at Inmetco who has been on the board for 16 years. His main concern is the uncertainty of education funding with the continuing rises to the costs of pensions and alternative education costs and declining state funding. Cortez said the board will have to be even more creative in finding money, including exploring costs reductions and the merger of services. He said with shrinking enrollments, mergers should be explored sooner than later.
– Gray, 40, of Ellwood City is a Realtor with Re/Max Select Realty who is completing her first term on the board. She did not respond to The Ledger for comment.
– Pansera, 61, of Ellwood City is a data entry associate who previously served on the board for three terms until 2017. Her goal is to give the best education to students with the least burden to taxpayers.
– Rozanski, 68, of Ellwood City is a retired automotive technician and service manager who previously served on the school board from 1998-2010. His priority is to bring the academic standards back up in the district. Rozanski also wants to promote safety in the schools for all students and staff and make sure the district retains all the jobs it can.
– Tomon, 41, of Wayne Township is a licensed funeral home director who has served one term on the board. She did not respond to The Ledger for comment.
– Woodhead, 46, of Perry Township is the owner of Atlas Supply Co. and has served one term on the board. She did not respond to The Ledger for comment.