Skip to main content

Contentious races to play out in Lehighton, Tamaqua

Published May 18. 2019 06:05AM

Two contentious local school board races could become clearer following Tuesday’s primary election.


There are 11 people aspiring to win five four-year term nominations for seats on the Lehighton Area School District Board of Education. Ten of the 11 candidates are cross-filed and appear on both the Democratic and Republican ballots, while the 11th candidate is running only on the Democratic ticket.

The cross-filed candidates are Barbara A. Bowes, Frank Ruch, Walter “Wally” Zlomsowitch, Wayne W. Wentz, Nathan R. Foeller, Byron D. Schnell, Larry E. Stern, Thomas “Tommy” McEvilly, Richard R. Beltz and Rita L. Spinelli.

Craig G. Bowman is the candidate whose name appears on only the Democratic slate.

Ruch was tragically killed in a crash on April 15. Since he was a filed candidate, his name appears on both ballots. Should he win a nomination in either party, that party’s leadership will choose a successor to be placed on the ballot for the general election in November.

Ruch was a Mahoning Township supervisor and an active member of the community, and his family has asked voters consider casting a memorial vote for him.

The top five vote-getters on each ticket will advance to the general election ticket.


Eleven candidates are vying for five seats on Tamaqua’s school board. All have cross-filed. The candidates include incumbents Larry Wittig, Dan Schoener and Melanie Dillman. Challengers include Justin Startzel, Thomas J. Bartasavage Jr., Trina Schellhammer, Stacey Betz, Liz Pinkey, Karen Tharp, Cheryl Tennant Humes and Jessica Ivey.

The district currently has two lawsuits pending against it, one from the teacher’s union and another from a group of parents, over the implementation of a policy allowing employees to carry firearms in school.

School board members agreed in January to temporarily suspend the implementation of the controversial policy, No. 705, following the filing of the two legal challenges.

The board, however, revived the plan in April, saying appeals of the court cases could last for years, and the district is ready to move forward.


Good morning. Frank Ruch was a great guy, and my condolences to his family and friends.

The electorate and not a board, a judge, political party or even a committee should be deciding on which candidates are on the November ballot. This town has suffered enough from appointments.

Consider the facts that people like David Krause, Stacey Duerst, and Rita Spinelli were all appointments at one point. Sad results.

May Frank Ruch rest in peace, I trust many will Honor his family wishes.

Emotionally, I like the idea of a tribute vote, and will consider it.
Rationally, this district is in financial ruin and need the electorate to chose its leadership.
A tough choice indeed.

This government board borrowed on our children's future, spent money they didn't have yet, and taxed the community when they had a surplus. Appointments led to votes of destruction. The district is responsible to choses those that have the skills to fix what needs fixing.

God Bless Frank and his family. A tribute vote is a nice idea. After all, Frank Ruch's name is on the 2011 Feasibility Study that exposed all the safety items the Lehighton board had previously failed to repair. If it wasn't for Frank the tax increases and failed school maintenance program may have stayed hidden.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.

I love that you hate me so much. It gives me an excuse to banter.

If the voters vote out the incumbents, those that failed to Honor their oath, we all win. There is no need for me as a Director in a built board.

I am just a counterbalance to corruption.

My advocacy was created by those that fail their oath. When they failed to protect the children and save the community they created me. And their attacks on me for the ideas I share from the community, the common sense logic, well thosw ideas are like kryptonite to cronyism. Thanks for playin today's edition of "Expose the Government Stooge"
Let's rant:
Failed to add tax rebate onto agenda.
Taxes up, budget up, debt way up, interest rate up, cronyism up.

Thank you for your participation. Next time bring a positive idea, like the State's 30% rebate program.


Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
Dark skies,

Good morning. A resident shared a state approved TAX REBATE PROGRAM used at other districts. The rebate is significant, 30% for home owners and renters that qualify.

I listened, collected the data, and shared it with the incumbents. It is election season, I am not running and this is great news.
The HOMETOWN TEAM members control the district agenda, Larry specifically.

So why didn't Larry Stern put the program on the agenda for Monday's meeting? I know I will. Will he fight me to help our community? Will Larry direct the board to threaten to sue me again if I don't shut up?

The actions of Wayne, Larry and Rubber stamping Rita show why we have Darkskies in Lehighton. Ths gloom and doom is evident when a team of political officials have a political name like Hometown. Is this just Lehighton staff team? Reach pooitical insiders?

The 'outsiders', the build a board team, with one member from each Area of the district have the community, with our 70% population block has less than 3 generations here. They pledge to act in cooperation of the stakeholders. Residents, student and staff.

The favoritism and cronyism is only an advantage to staff members. Did you see who supports them? Those collecting a piece of the $40M budget. It used to be $28M.

A 30% rebate program, hand delivered on a silver platter. Ignored by the those that took action to increase in government spending.

Who funds the HOMEROWN TEAM?
Who funds the REACH COMMITTEE?

In the past the PSEA-PAC (related to the Teachers union) gave thousands to the Reach committee to support their candidates. Who do these people serve the lobbyist? Or the community?

Didn't add a tax rebate onto the agenda.
Didn't fix the required safety repairs for our students in a timely fashion.
Voted to use a Wducational Funds on a Resolution to silence an individual.

Cheer up dude, the Darkskies will be replace with a lawful government, of, by and for the people.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Citizens of Lehighton

Everyone knows what has been going on with the Lehighton School Board, they do not listen to the people, they do not care what you have to say.

The primaries are important, it puts people you want on the ticket for the November election and you won’t have to worry about your job being threatened, you won’t have to worry about retaliation for your views, your voice can be heard at the voting booth.

It is time to rid Lehighton of the bullies, you know who they are.

Now is the time for change, vote in Tuesdays primary.
Well lets try again and vote out the good ole boys but the damage is already done, we got rid of stearn once lets try to make it stick this time.

Also as Frank was a very nice person who should be on this board , unfortunately God had other plans, but please don't vote for him if he would win it would leave an open seat and the morons in charge would again appoint another good ole boy!

Classified Ads

Event Calendar


August 2019


Upcoming Events

Twitter Feed