PITTSTON — Six people are competing for four seats on the Pittston Area School Board in the Nov. 5 general election.
Three incumbents, Kent Bratlee, Bruce Knick and Marilyn Starna, two past board members, Marty Quinn and John Adonzio, and one newcomer, Roseann Ricotta are all seeking seats on the board.
Big issues facing the district include increased security, keeping up with technology and a budget shortfall.
And, just four year ago, the district was caught up in a countywide corruption scandal that saw the former superintendent, Ross Scarantino, and a board member, John Oliveri, spend time in jail on bribery charges.
One incumbent, Bob Linskey Jr., did not seek a second term on the board, instead opting to run for supervisor in Jenkins Township. Five other board members’ terms are not yet expired. They are Charlie Sciandra, Anthony Guarglia, Joe Kelly, Richard Gorzkowski and John Donahue.
Bratlee, Knick, Quinn, and Adonizio are running together as a ticket. Ricotta was on that ticket in the primary election, but she was ousted in favor of Adonizio for the General Election.
Rumors swirled that Ricotta and Starna would team up for the general, but both said they were not. But they have befriended either other and both plan on running on independent platforms.
Adonizio and Knick both had run-ins with the law during their tenures on the board
In 2008, Adonizio was sentenced to one month house arrest and six months probation on DUI and resisting-arrest charges. In 2012, Knick was sentenced to the county’s ARD program for first-time offenders on a DUI charge. Both men acknowledged the incidents, apologized and said they have put the incidents behind them.
The following are based on interviews with the candidates in May.
• John Adonizio, of Hughestown, was a past school board member. Adonizio is a 1976 graduate of Pittston Area High School and studied business administration at Marywood University and Lackawanna College. He has worked at Pepsi Bottling Group, Latona Trucking, as a gas field worker and currently at Franchelli Utility Contractor as a utility worker. He is single and has twin daughters, Alexandra and Olivia, both freshmen in college.
• R. Kent Bratlee, of Avoca, was appointed to the school board to fill the unexpired term of a board member who resigned. He previously sat on the board for four years and currently serves as vice president of the board. A former resident of West Pittston, Bratlee was a member of Wyoming Area High School’s first graduating class in 1967. He studied business at Luzerne County Community College and served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 1969 to 1975. He is married to the former Alice Endres and they have two children, Michael and Nichole, and three grandchildren. Bratlee formerly owned Valley Meat and Deli in Avoca for 24 years before retiring. He now works part-time driving a school bus for Yatesville Bus Co.
• Bruce Knick, of Dupont, is completing his first term on the school board. Knick is a 1987 graduate of Pittston Area High School and studied business administration classes at LCCC. He is the father of Pittston Area student Bruce Knick Jr. and has been employed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission as a gamelands maintenance supervisor for 20 years. His work on gamelands includes planting vegetation for the animals and repairing and maintaining roads and bridges on state gamelands. His late father’s business, Hidden Valley Dairy, was based out of Suscon and Knick lived there until moving to Dupont.
• Marty Quinn, of Pittston Township, previously served on the Pittston Area School Board for 20 years. Quinn attended Pittston Township and Pittston Central Catholic schools in the 1950s. He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in the late 1950s. He worked for the Teamsters Union and the Lehigh Valley Railroad and Conrail for 26 years. He is retired and does electrical work. He and his wife, Barbara, have three grown children, Mitch, Mike and Brian.
• Roseanne Ricotta, of Hughestown, was born and raised in Pittston and graduated from Pittston Area High School in 1968. She graduated from College Misericordia in 1972 with a degree in sociology and secondary education. She was employed for 12 years in the state Department of Education and for 24 years in the Social Security Administration, where she retired as a training coordinator. She has never held an elected office. Ricotta is single and has six great-nieces and great-nephews.
• Marilyn Starna, of Pittston Township, is completing her first term on the board. Originally from Plains Township, the former Marilyn Jackloski graduated from Plains High School in 1972. She took classes at Wilkes University and LCCC. She is employed as a bank manager at Wells Fargo on Main Street in Pittston and has worked in local banks since 1987. She and her husband, Robert, have resided in Pittston Township for 38 years. They have a daughter, Leslie, and two grandchildren, Beau and Milania.