Unofficial results show that three former Connellsville Area School District employees and the owner of Panzella Trucking were the top vote getters Tuesday in the primary races for Connellsville Area School Board.
On the Democratic ballot, Michael Omatick led all candidates with 14.64 percent, followed by David Martray
(14.41) David Panzella (13.34) and Donald Grenaldo (12.42).
On the Republican ballot, Martray led with 14.96 percent of the votes, followed by Omatick (14.17), Grenaldo (13.11) and Panzella (12.44).
The trio of Grenaldo, Martray and Omatick ran as a trio during the primary season.
During a candidates forum in April, Martray said he’d like to see more transparency from the current administration and the ability for individuals to discuss issues with them.
Omatick said that he felt the district should utilize “homegrown” talent more often in the district.
“They know the problems of the community,” he said.
Panzella said during the forum that the district should hire the best people possible.
“You’ve got to have good people no matter where they come from,” he said. The candidates also talked about the current board’s decision to consolidate the district’s elementary schools. “First and foremost, schools need to be safe. If they can’t be made safe, we need to move the kids,” Grenaldo said.
Martray said the closings will result in district savings.
“That money can be put into a capital improvements fund,” Martray said, “plus, the student/teacher ration will definitely drop down.”
Omatick said he went through the process of trying to close schools twice five or six years ago, but the closures were stopped by legal action.
“I thought it was a good idea then. I think it’s a good idea now,” Omatick said.
“School closings are tough. I give the present school board kudos. You have to do what is best for everyone. Change is tough, but change can be good,” Panzella said.
All four will vie for four open seats in November’s general election.