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Name: Diane Elias
Address: Diehl Drive, McKeesport
Filed as: Republican/Democratic
Almanac: Why are you running for school board, and what are your qualifications?
Elias: So I can continue to support our students, staff and taxpayers.
Almanac: One constant question at board meetings has been about gun violence. Prior to this election, how have you addressed gun-related violence within the community?
Elias: I have attended several gun violence meetings and agree to work collectively with other board members, administration and any other community leaders.
Almanac: How do you rate the relationship between the school board, educators, students and families regarding incidents occurring outside of school?
Elias: I agree to work with everyone and anyone to address these concerns.
Almanac: What steps can the school board take to ensure safety within schools?
Elias: We hired seven more security guards and another police officer. I am now working on hardening our school buildings: Door latches, alarms on doors, etc.
Almanac: McKeesport Area has many students whose families are struggling economically and a large percentage of students who are from minority groups. How will you work to understand and meet their diverse needs?
Elias: By providing them a quality education and referring them to the resources that we have for food or clothing, etc.
Almanac: What literacy challenges do McKeesport Area students face, and how would you address them?
Elias: We have professionals monitoring the needs of our students.
Almanac: What is your opinion of the current math education curriculum, especially at the middle and high school level?
Elias: We all meet with our staff to address all of our needs for our students. I think our staff is doing a great job.
Almanac: What is the role of music, arts and social-studies education?
Elias: To nurture a student’s creative side; and social studies educates our students about our history.
Almanac: Why do some parents choose not to send their children to McKeesport Area schools — and how can the district get them back?
Elias: One factor is bullying — and we have liaison officers reaching out to these students trying to bring them back to our schools.
Almanac: As a board member, where would you look to make budget cuts? Are there any areas you would not consider cutting?
Elias: Right now our budget (fund balance) is positive. I would never agree to cut any programs for our students.
Originally published May 13, 2023.