Next week’s school board election could set the stage for what our area’s taxes will look like over the next 4 years. Does having a school tax rate of 50 mills, or more, by 2016-17 budget sound reasonable? Are you happy with the over-building of the school district’s campus? Are you satisfied with labor costs? Next week, you will be able to voice your opinion.
These off-year elections have extremely low turn out, and your one vote can have a huge impact. I encourage everyone to get out and vote, regardless of where you stand on the issues. If you take the time to look at who is running for what, either within the school district or other elections, it is disappointing how many people are running unopposed.
There are some candidates, that the election is just a technicality, because there isn’t even a person running from the opposing party. These candidates got a handful of signatures, and automatically will get awarded their seat. Whether you like a person who is running or not, we need to do better.
Octorara Area School District – School Director Primary Election
Region 2 (Sadsbury Twp & West Fallowfield Twp)
- Samuel Ganow (Rep/Dem Primary)
- Hank Oleyniczak (Not Running)
Region 3 (Highland Twp, Londonderry Twp, Parkesburg-South)
- Robert Hume (Retiring, Not Running)
- Nelson Stoltzfus (Rep/Dem Primary)
- No Candidates
- Timothy Alexander (Rep/Dem Primary)
- Frank Dangelo (Rep Primary Only)
* The office of School Director is considered nonpartisan and, as a result, is one of a few offices candidates can run both a Republican and Democrat.
No Choices in Region 2
Unfortunately, Sadsbury and West Fallowfield Townships are being given no choice for change in this election cycle. There are two seats available. They are the seats currently held by Samuel Ganow and Hank Oleyniczak. Mr Ganow is running unopposed, and there is no one running for the seat held by Mr Oleyniczak. (When Mr Oleyniczak was appointed to the vacant position, he stated he had no intentions of running during the elections.)
This provides a wonderful opportunity in Sadsbury and West Fallowfield Townships to launch a last minute, impromptu write-in campaign. In fact, it is completely possible that a person could win their party’s primary with as little as one vote… their own. How easy is that?
There is even a very slight chance of Mr Ganow losing the primaries if (a big IF) several people jumped in and made some noise. It is not something to bet on, but it could happen.
Region 3’s Candidates
Almost guaranteed, no matter what happens in the primary, incumbent Nelson Stoltzfus will be in November’s general election. I say almost because there is a slim chance he won’t make it. For that to happen, he would need to lose the Republican Primary and get absolutely zero votes in the Democratic. It is possible, but improbable.
In fact, the same situation exits for Timothy Alexander (me). I have been very pubic about my criticisms of the district, and the direction I believe we need to move the school, both to create more reasonable budgets and in accountability for academic performance. Win, lose, or draw… I’m not going away any time soon.
The only real wild card here is the candidacy of Frank Dangelo. He is only running in the Republican Primary. If he wins, we could have an interesting race come November. If he loses, we know who the School Directors will be representing Region 3 come Tuesday.
Mr Dangelo is a candidate for Region 3. He is a name that does not seem to be being talked about in this election, and so I’m giving him some free press. I would love to see him win the Republican Party’s nomination, even if it means me running as only a Democrat in November.
I know nothing about Mr Dangelo’s position on any of the issues facing the school district. I don’t know if he represents the Libritarian Wing of the Republican Party, if he is part of the Progressive Right, or if he is Christian Right. I have not heard him speak up or speak out at school board meetings, nor have I read any commentary written by him.
Mr Dangelo needs to win the Republican Primary for one reason… this election cannot be automatically determined by 10 signatures on a petition. You read that right… 10 signatures on a petition!! In these small, off-year elections many of the people who get “elected,” when they run unopposed, will “win” because they got just a handful a signatures (most at a party committee meeting, with no effort). This is why many people feel voters don’t have a voice… many local incumbents don’t need to answer to voters to get re-elected.
No matter what region or area you live in, just vote… even vote for yourself. Write your name in for any and every open seat. The days of our local “elected” officials being determined by as little as 10 signatures on a petition needs to end. Heck, the tax protest petition received more signatures than all the school board candidates combined.
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