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5 challenge 2 incumbents for seats on school board



Published: Mon, October 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The school district met only 14 of the state's 27 proficiency standards last year.

By PAUL WHEATLEY

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CAMPBELL -- Five people are challenging incumbents Walter Rusnak and Michael D. Tsikouris for their seats and one vacant position on the Campbell board of education.

Challengers vying for a seat are Jeffrey Opencar, Karen Penwell, Diana Petruska, Karen Repasky and Robert T. Dolan.

Some, such as Repasky, a former board member who served from 1992 to 1999, say they aren't happy with the current school board's direction and its effect on Campbell schools.

Repasky said she'd like to change what she called the board's nepotistic hiring practices and restore financial accountability. "I can't sit back and do nothing," she said.

Petruska, an accountant with Youngstown Barrel & amp; Drum, said she wants to see board members hire the best qualified candidate -- not friends and relatives -- when it comes to filling vacancies within the district.

"I believe the Campbell board of education needs a fresh new perspective to improve the quality of education," she said.

Both incumbents have relatives working in the school district. Tsikouris' brother-in-law, the Rev. Daniel Rohan, is on the school board, and his sister Calliope Rohan is a teacher with the district. Rusnak's daughter Melanie is also a teacher with the district.

Opencar, who places an emphasis on ensuring all students have access to state-of-the-art educational tools, agrees that changes need to be made on the board.

"I think they've lost touch with the children," he said.

Agreement: Dolan, Penwell and the other candidates and incumbents agree on one thing: Test scores must improve. The school district met only 14 of Ohio's 27 performance standards in 2001 and met only 11 of them the year before.

Besides working on proficiency test scores, Tsikouris wants to improve athletic facilities to bring them up to the standards of the district's new high school and K-8 facilities, which are scheduled to open in 2002.

He also hopes to set guidelines for Superintendent James Ciccolelli, for whom the current board approved a pay raise from $69,917 in 2000 to $85,080 at the end of 2003. The board also agreed on raises for the district's principals and treasurer.

"We have to set goals and see if he achieves those goals," said Tsikouris, a board member since 1998 who believes Ciccolelli is doing a great job as superintendent.

Rusnak, also a board member since 1998, said he'd like to develop and implement a continuous improvement program for the district.




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