Shade school board race draws a half-dozen candidates

May 9, 2019 GMT

Six candidates are vying for five available seats on the Shade-Central City school board.

Cecelia Corradini, who has served on the board for six years, said she wants to keep her seat to make sure Shade students have as many opportunities as possible.

“When I went to school, I was in a big family and we couldn’t participate in things because there were seven kids,” she said. “I want to see if there are ways maybe I can help other kids that aren’t able to join into things.”

Corradini said one of her goals is to see the district’s music program reinstated. She added that she also wants to continue safety programs such as the SHIELD program for the sake of the school and community.

Corradini said Shade officials have been looking for more ways to include technology in students’ daily studies. Officials recently attended a Pennsylvania School Boards Association seminar that included Apple programs dealing with subjects such as biology.

“That’s something we are looking into to bring in our school that will not just help the kids, but with the teachers help them and give them fresh, new ideas,” she said.

Dorothy Gindlesperger, who has served the school district for 28 years, said she still has a few things she’d like to see accomplished at the school. She also wants to make sure everyone is on a level playing field.

“I think we need people who will put the students and the education first all the time, not just when it’s convenient for them,” she said.

Gindlesperger said she would like to add more college preparation and online courses for students. She added that small schools need to continue looking at cooperative agreements, or co-ops, with other schools.

“I think our small school districts need to look at that to offer students more options,” she said.

Gindlesperger said school districts need to hold themselves fiscally responsible when dealing with school budgets. She added that it’s hard for districts to build a capital reserve, which means schools might have limited options for future emergencies.

“If you don’t have a capital reserve to go to, you are going to be taking out a bond or borrowing,” she said. “So we pray nothing happens, but you have to be prepared for that.”

On a fixed income herself, Gindlesperger said she would like to see property tax reform, and has spoken to legislators, including state Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, about the issue.

“Those are things our government and our Legislature needs to address,” she said.

This will be Joetta Mincek’s first time running for school board. She was recently an educator for Chestnut Ridge and Admiral Peary Area Vocational Technical School. Mincek recently moved back to Shade Township, and she credits her success in education to her time at Shade.

“My father was also on Shade school board for 22 years, and my father always believed in citizen participation and so do I,” she said.

Mincek said that while she considers the education to be excellent at the district, there are core subjects that she feels are not being offered to students. She added that while she supports Shade and North Star looking into a study about a potential merger, she would like Shade officials to consider similar studies with Shanksville and Windber.

“I think when we discuss merging we need to not just look at the academics and the sports, but I think we need to look at transportation and the cost for us,” she said. “So I’d like to do a study with a couple other school districts too.”

Mincek said she is against raising taxes and would like to look into state tax reform. She believes state government places a low priority on education.

“These young students are our future, and if we are not preparing them well because of a lack of funding then (state representatives) need to be ashamed,” she said.

Mincek said she would like to see more residents come to school board meetings and become involved.

“When I graduated we had 100 students, and now there are 30 students,” she said. “The high quality of education is being provided, but with less students being able to have higher-level courses.”

John O’Ship, who has served on the board for 25 years, said he would like to remain with the board until the bonds the school owes are paid off. The school took out bonds for renovations starting in the late 1980s, according to O’Ship.

“The biggest thing was the renovation of both schools,” he said. “Then we did the football stadium, which was back several years ago.”

O’Ship said it’s hard to draw from different financial sources, especially with the lack of industry in the school district.

“We have been trying to hold everything down as far as expenses, (but) when you are down to bare bones, you don’t have too much to pull from,” he said.

O’Ship said he’d like to reopen the music program and offer more college preparation courses.

“I want to serve the students first and then the people of the community,” he said.

Shade school board members Steven Muha and Randy Kiser did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

The primary is May 21.