Donovan position change fails to pass again

June 27th, 2015 1:18 am

First Posted: 4/19/2013

For the second consecutive month, the Pittston Area School Board voted down a motion intended to change the job function of Pittston Area Intermediate Center principal Janet Donovan.

By a vote of 6-3, the board opted to refrain from naming Donovan the acting assistant superintendent and director of curriculum. Donovan was formerly the district’s princial of curriculum.

Directors Kent Bratlee, John Donahue, Anthony Guariglia, Bruce Knick, Marilyn Starna and Charles Sciandra all voted against the move, citing their preferences to act on the matter after next year’s budget is in place.

Directors Joseph Kelly, Robert Linskey and Richard Gorzkowski each voted in favor.

Kelly repeated his comments from the March regular school board meeting that Donovan is sorely needed to aid the district’s superintendent, Dr. Michael Garzella.

Kelly dismissed allegations from Guariglia that he had “a personal interest” in the matter and argued that the district has missed out on grant opportunities because the administration is understaffed.

Garzella, when pressed, stated that the grant funding that Pittston Area has applied for over the course of the school year has been “minimized.”

Kelly also stated his belief that Donovan’s aid will be essential as the district grapples with the filling of several upcoming administrative vacancies and the possible closure of the Benjamin Franklin Kindergarten Center in Dupont.

With regard to that facility, the board heard from Dupont Borough Council President Stanley Knick Jr. and Mayor Daniel Lello who hope that the borough will have the first option to obtain the property and facility if the district opts to close the school.

Dupont had previously owned the property, but transferred it to the Greater Pittston Area School District when Dupont schools were absorbed into the district.

At the time, the property was sold to the district, as a point of formality, for $2. Dupont officials jokingly stated they were willing to double that amount.

The land transfer agreement also included a stipulation that the borough be given first consideration should the land become unneeded by the district.

Pittston Area officials will not likely make a decision before July of this year, but pledged to keep Dupont officials informed.

If the school is closed, Dupont offiicals hope to possibly convert the facility to accommodate senior citizen housing.

In other matters, Linskey and Starna each stated their disappointment that there has not yet been a public meeting to discuss budgetary items for the next school year.

Al Melone, a financial consultant contracted by the borough, pointed out that extensive e-mails have been sent to board members in hopes that some of the more mundane and basic issues might be addressed prior to the May board meeting.

The next Pittston Area School Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 23.