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Last updated: February 19. 2013 8:37PM - 465 Views

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YATESVILLE – Charles Sciandra was unanimously elected Pittston Area School Board's new leader at a reorganization meeting Tuesday night. He replaces Anthony Guariglia, who served in that role for the past year.


Sciandra, 63, of Duryea, a business consultant, said the board has some deep challenges ahead, including the drain cyber/charter schools are having on the district's budget and negotiating a new teachers' contract.


I'd like to build a consensus and promote teamwork, he said. And try to get ahead of some of these problems as soon as we can.


One of the biggest caveats we're looking at right now is we have an $800,000 to $1million drain from cyber schools and charter schools, he said. When we look at our budget, these are dollars that are leaving our district that we have to find ways to bring back.


He said the current teachers' contract expires in June and negotiations will begin in January.


We have a great professional staff, Sciandra said. I know everyone in the district realizes that as we go into negotiations that we're in for some tough times.


Sciandra praised the district's leadership, including Superintendent Dr. Michael Garzella, and said he looks forward to working together in the upcoming year.


Sciandra spent 10 years as a high school teacher, then left the public sector for the business world for the past 35 years. He's spent the past 20 years as a specialist for a private equity company, restructuring and turning around companies.


Kent Bratlee, a past board member from Avoca who was appointed to the board earlier this year to fill a vacancy, was elected vice president. Bratlee received five votes from himself, Guariglia, Sciandra, Bruce Knick and John Donahue.


Richard Gorzowski received votes from himself, Marilyn Starna and Joseph Kelly. Robert Linsky was not present for the vote.


Donahue was reappointed the legislative chairman/Pennsylvania School Board Association representative


Knick was appointed as voting delegate for the tax collection committee. He replaces Sciandra. Tony Guariglia was appointed as alternate voting delegate.


Guariglia and Donahue were designated as board overseers for the district's purchasing policy.


The board voted to conduct public work sessions and meetings on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Pittston Area High School Library.


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