Sunday, May 15, 2011

Letter to the Editor

May 15, 2011

As a lifelong, loyal resident of Ford City and Kittanning, I am dismayed by the rancor that accompanies the present school board election. I naively grew up thinking that the rivalry between the towns was simply school boy stuff, but I was mistaken. This conflict traces to outdated, social class mistrust fed by unjustified paranoia.

The incumbent trio of Solak, Stitt, and Kozuch has recently circulated a letter To ASD Residents of the Ford City Area that preys on the same dark fears and social class bigotry that have haunted our two towns for the past 50 years. By using demeaning labels like “self appointed elite” and circulating disingenuous insinuations, this communication is using a well-known, psychological ploy intended to demonize an opponent. By creating hate and fear through labels, the facts are obscured.

But what are the facts that interest the silent majority?

1. Our school district has shrunk and is shrinking.

2. Many believe that curriculum is more important than bricks and mortar.

3. “Self appointed elite” is an oxymoron in this community, and no candidate supports a West Hills high school at any cost.

4. Our school taxes are already among the highest in western Pennsylvania; and common sense denies that you can borrow $80 million and pay for the upcoming expense of retirement shortfalls and healthcare insurance without raising taxes.

5. The pettiness and divisiveness that characterize this board’s tenure need to end.

So please, look beyond hateful labels and innuendo in this election and examine each candidate’s stance on these issues. Help to restore the qualities of respect and dignity to our school board. Together, let’s send a clear referendum to our school district and vote for the candidates with Common Sense.

Hal Altman
Armstrong County