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New board members take their seats promising ‘open door’ to public
Founders Hall Middle School choir members perform during the MASD meeting on Dec. 4. (Adam Reinherz photo for Tube City Almanac)
McKeesport Area School District will resume streaming its meetings online, the newly reconstituted school board announced on Monday.
In addition, the board will add another meeting each month.
Both decisions should increase transparency, said newly named board President Mark Holtzman. “We think it’s advantageous to the public,” he said.
Beginning in January, district meetings will occur the first and second Thursday of each month. The first meeting will enable the public to hear proposed business; the second meeting will afford time for board members to vote.
The interim period, Holtzman said, will allow the public to “see what you got, and if you have questions just to come back and bring it; because we are open door, I can promise you that.”
On Monday, the first meeting since November’s municipal election, the school board held its reorganization meeting, during which Holtzman and other new board members took their seats, including Matthew Keller, Jason Pavlecic and David Seropian.
Holtzman was elected president of the board, while School Director Diane Elias was elected vice president.
During the general board meeting, Holtzman praised his colleagues and new hires in the district: “I'm just looking forward to working with these folks, (and) everybody on this board. I think we got a fabulous businessman here, superintendent, our legal team.”
Holtzman also complimented recently appointed district police Chief Brenda Sawyer.
“She's going to really make some positive changes within the district because the objective is, if the kids aren’t safe and the teachers aren’t safe, then the kids can’t learn,” he said.
Superintendent Dr. Tia Wanzo welcomed members of the Founders Hall Middle School choir at Monday’s meeting.
Led by co-directors Michael Guzik and Joe Diamond, the students sang “Carry the Light” and “Cold Snap.”
Wanzo said students will remain a priority at future gatherings.
As for the ongoing contract negotiations between the district and the teachers’ union, Wanzo said she can’t predict a timeline for resolution but that new board members are committed to “working through this as quickly as possible.”
When it comes to district affairs, new board members will offer “fresh ideas and new perspectives,” she said. “It's an exciting opportunity to start, refresh and try to work collectively on some common goals.”
Adam Reinherz is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published December 06, 2023.