Primary ballot will be cramped in Ringgold race

Primary ballot will be cramped in Ringgold race

March 13, 2013
Ringgold School Board President Mariann Bulko holds one of only two seats on the nine-member panel that will not be on the ballot in the May primary. - Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Voters in Ringgold School District will see a cramped ballot in the spring primary of candidates seeking a seat on the school board, which has been hotly divided over whether to construct a new middle school.

Sixteen candidates have filed petitions to appear on the ballot for Ringgold School Board, which will have seven of its nine seats up for grabs.

“It’s going to be a dirty, nasty election,” said board President Mariann Bulko, who is not up for re-election.

“Everywhere I go, I hear people saying they want a new school,” Bulko said, adding that a slate of seven candidates appears to have formed to reverse the plan to build a new school and instead reopen closed schools in Donora and Monongahela to use as middle schools.

In Region III, which represents Finleyville and Union and Nottingham townships, three Republicans and one Democrat have entered the race. They are: Maureen Ott of Nottingham, a Republican who was appointed by Washington County Court last year to a vacant seat on the board; Jason H. Gerard, a Republican from Nottingham; Gwendaline St. Cyr, a Democrat from Union; and Frank Turko, a Republican from Union. Turko, Ott and Gerard have cross-filed on the Democrat and Republican ballots in that race, where voters will be asked to elect one director for a two-year term.

In Region II, which represents Monongahela, New Eagle and part of Carroll Township, Republican incumbents Robert Smith and Christopher Carroll, both of New Eagle, and Democrat incumbents William Stein Jr. of Carroll and Carol Fida Flament of Monongahela are being challenged by two candidates from Monongahela, Matti Gruzs and Sherrie Garry. All candidates in this race have cross-filed, and voters will be asked to elect one of them to the board for a four-year term.

In Region I representing Donora and portions of Carroll, incumbent Larry Mauro, a Democrat from Donora, will be challenged by Donald A. Bartoe, also a Democrat from Donora. Both men have cross-filed for one vacant, four-year term in that region.

Voters will be asked to choose one director for a two-year, at-large seat on the board from among nine candidates. In that race incumbents Mauro, Flament, Carroll and Stein are being challenged by Ott, St. Cyr, Gail Glaneman, a Republican from Eighty Four, and Jason H. Gerard, a Republican from Eighty Four. All of them have cross-filed.

Meanwhile, there are 13 candidates seeking three at-large seats on the board, which each carry a four-year term in office. Incumbents Charles Smith, a Democrat from New Eagle, Mauro, Stein, Flament and Carroll will compete against Garry, St. Cyr, Glaneman, Bartoe, Gerard, Ott , Elizabeth Brough, a Republican from Nottingham, and James Dodd, a Democrat from Monongahela. All 13 have cross-filed.

Candidates can run for regional and at-large seats simultaneously.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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