Former PA Super Ross Scarantino
Is former Pittston Area Superintendent Ross Scarantino Satan?
Should he be calling anyone at the school for whatever reason, even to say hello to a friend?
Is it OK to be friendly to him?
Sure. Why not?
I’ve been his company a handful of time since he was released from federal prison.
We were friendly and polite. Never once, however, did the conversation of politics or Pittston Area come up.
If any official or administrator is engaging Scarantino at the school, or engage him in any way about anything to do with politics, education, policies, etc…, then you’re more stupider
than you look.
If you did, you better be sure you didn’t say anything you don’t want played in an open federal courtroom.
Next, as you know, Mike Garzella was appointed as the district’s new Super.
Going into this past Tuesday’s meeting I was quite confident Garzella had eight votes. Board member Bob Linskey put up somewhat of a stink noting they should have expanded the district’s search outside of the area which is fine. Consequently I thought he might vote no.
After I heard the news the vote was five to four in favor of Garzella, I almost fell out of my chair. Those who voted in favor were Tony Guariglia, Charlie Sciandra, Casey Donahue, Bruce Knick and Kent Bratlee. Bob Linskey, Rich Gorzkowski, Marilyn Starna and Joe Kelly voted for Joe Gorman
Trust me, I talk with a lot of folks all who have close ties to most of the members of the board, and three weeks ago, at least seven of the nine were in Mike Garzella’s corner.
So why the change of heart?
Ah, enter convicted federal felon Ross Scarantino. Here’s the new strategy of those against anyone in the majority - call the feds and inject Scarantino’s name.
I bring this up because what all of a sudden spooked some in the minority to go against Garzella?
First, I can unequivocally say Ross Scarantino was lobbying for another candidate. Next, Ross Scaranino shouldn’t be lobbying for dog catcher let alone sticking his nose in Pittston Area politics.
OK – let’s just assume for a second Scarantino was making phone calls and sticking his nose into the appointment of Garzella and the feds were called.
Is that any reason to throw Mike Garzella under the bus?
Now let’s look at the politics of this charade. Further, please keep in mind Pittston Area needs to distance itself from politics..
With that, I’ve attended more political functions than Tony Rostock, Red O’Brien and Jimmy Haddock combined.
And, to the best of my recollection, I have NEVER seen Garzella at a political function. I could be wrong and I’m sure as you’re reading this, you’ll be rifling through our photo buckets to see if he’s in any of the photos.
Nor, did Garzellla donate a dime to Team Patriot’s campaign.
So, I think it’s safe to say Garzella is fairly removed from the political scene.
On the other hand, Joe Gorman is a sitting councilman in Ashley Borough. While I have heard many positive things about him and I’m sure his credentials are outstanding, who’s the politician here?
Quite honestly, if I were Mike Garzella and had this train wreck on the open floor, I’d tell ya’s all to go pound sand.
As you know, I’m no fan of some the existing board members. Face it, however, just as Pittston Area was about to take three stops forward, the four dissenting members against Garzella made the district take six steps back.
The minority all knew Garzella had five votes as they walked out onto the open floor. What kind of message did this send to a new superintendent? And, how well do you think he’s going to work with any board member
The board wasn’t pleased with former Super Goerge Cosgrove cuz of his in ability to execute. Now, Garzella is going to be looking over his shoulder with every step he takes.
Heck, in Joe Holden’s report, he noted that all nine board members agreed Garzella’s “credentials were exemplary.”
As far as Janet Donavan’s demotion and considering Ross Scarantino’s involvement with the Step by Step Program, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
Expect my favorite attorney, Cynthia Pollick, to serve the board and the district with yet another federal lawsuit.
And, just as she played the Ross Scarantino card when you settled Tommy Rome’s case – well, you get the picture.
" Now, Garzella going to be looking over his shoulder with every step he takes."
All I can say is good. People in charge should be doing this.
The question to ask is...Does Pittston Area need a Director of Curiculum? I would think that decision should be made by the new Superintendent. Although moving her to principal of the middle school is still a very good job.
Donovan hs nothing to comlain about and as far as I know, she hasn't complained. I think the 4 votes against the new super was wrong. He had the votes and they should have shown him support. Joe Kelly walked away from his running mates and I have to wonder why? What credentials other than being a membeer of the Board allows him to lead the way in finding a new Super? he word on the street is that Joe Kelly is Joe Holden's newed best buddy. Kelly might want to stay of the PR phone and spend more time learning the job of Member of the Board of education.
It was "unconscionable" for Joe Kelly and his new found minority members to vote against the new super when they knew Garzella had the votes. It would have been a vote of confidence. Now they've tainted a new super and Pittston Area will continue to be be the "corruption capitol of the world."
Take this to the Bank...Mike will stay above the Politics of this Board.He will do his job,and do it well.
First lets address the Ross S. situation. If any sitting board member was influeanced by Mr. Scarantino shame on them. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you are a loser with no nuts. However, if it were not against the law then Ross can call anyone he likes to call. He lost his pension, he served jail time and his apoligized for his crime. So the only way he could get his foot in the door is if people let him. And like I mentioned above shame on the ones that do. But the people of Pittston keep voting for these people so you get what you deserve and that is bad goverment.
Next, Mike Garzella. I know Mike a number of years and I hold him in high regard. I don't know why he would want this job but lets say this. I ran for school director and people always ask me why would I want to do that. The answer is because I thought I could make a difference. Well, the same goes for Mr. Garzella. I have to think that he is thinking the same. I wish him luck and I think he will do a great job.
Pittston Area does need a full-time curriculum director. Pennsylvania education standards have been repeatedly given poor reviews because of vagueness and lack of structure. They change frequently and unpredictably. As a result, good teachers present instruction that is often excessively overlapped, or, disconnected from previous year's instruction. A full-time curriculum director serves to get all teachers in all departments on the same page to present a more cohesive instruction. Superintendents and building principals offer great input, but have too many other non-insructional duties, such as personnel, student discipline, parental relations, Dept. of Ed., contractors, etc. Curriculum deals specifically with what is taught, and is important enough to demand its own director. This is a perfect example of the reality of budget cuts from the state. Local districts struggle with very difficult choices. Often times the public fails to see the opportunity cost. Much like the opportunity costs of choosing between extra-curricular activities like one sport over another or sports vs. music. The bottom line is all these activities benefit student academic performance. And when the board has to make cuts, it hurts.
Are you kidding me. I think HBO should be contacted and see if they want to do a series on The Pittston Area School Board. Might be as interesting as the Sopranos.
God I hope now the the FBI is looking into all this A G A I N!!!!! That not only will Ross go back to jail, but some more members of various school boards will be there hoping not to drop the soap also.
Its a shame that the people of the local area and frankly just so F*&^$*G stupid that the only way they will stop voting for crooks is if they are in jail and cant vote for them.
They are like battered women, no matter how many times we get black eyes we know if we just love them more they will change and stop hurting us.
What a Gangster, Russell would be proud of this South Pittston boy. The Doctor is on call!
One thing people are forgetting. Do you think the former Serino administration is innocent from this Garzella pick. We know he is still pulling the strings like Ross is trying to influence Donavan. If Garzella had any dignity he would resign immediately or he may find himself in trouble. We all heard of these secret meetings. You are all being watched.
Well read the Dispatch boys, the editorial sums it up very well.
Let's stop using Scarantino as a Leper, he did wrong but to say that Board members should not have voted for Garzella because Scrantino knew or spoke to him is a a bigger crime.
Every time some of the board does not want something they are going to use Scarantino's name!
The jiggs up boys people are smarter than that.
Garzella is a great choice and he will stand on his own no matter who he knows or doesn't know.
We finally have a leader, the last one was far from ever being a leader.
Maybe Ross can get Bob Linskey a job down in Allenwood.
Finally this board is responding to making hard decisions.
The Superintendent was a good one I feel, good man with good experience and I hear well respected.
Saving money is not a bad thing even if people get upset.
I heard Linskey but he talks from both sides of his mouth, Donovan in her current role is a nice to have but if we can get the job done and save money then let's do it.
Doesn't sound like Linskey has the Dispatch in his pocket anymore, IT IS ABOUT TIME!
Now maybe the local TV station will do the same thing.
Did we forget his law suit on his fellow board members?
What really confuses me is this. Why can't nine grown adults get along? We the people elect these nine people to run our school district. For as long as I can remember it has been this guy aganist that guy. If you go out of town and ask the people who is on your school boards? They don't know. The schools are run and run the correct way. Our school systems here in this part of Northeast PA are a joke. I recently heard one school director tell a person that he hates another school director and would not vote for any ideas that this director had even if it helps the school. Is that why you were elected? Do we elect our school directors to sit on a majority or minority? Neither I hope. I have attended alot of school board meetings and they are a circus. They sometimes should sell tickets to these meetings to help balance the budget. I have seen some great ideas voted down just because of the fact that the person or persons bringing up the idea were not in the majority and did not get the votes. I have also see the worse ideas get approved because the person bringing it up was on the majority. I also ask myself why do some many people what to controll the school boards from behind the scenes? What more is there to take? How do we still get to the point where a superintendent goes to prison? How do we get to the point where a sitting school director goes to prison? Is it power? Is it greed?
I have some advise for our new superintendent. Stay away from the political side of your job. Stay away from the people that are going to tell you that you owe them and you got your job because of them. Watch out for your new found friends. In the next few months you will figure out who they are. You will also figure out which school director has his head screwed on right and which ones don't. Just do your job and let the nine directors fight among themselves like the children in the school yard. Good luck Mike.
Pittston TWP. PA
Rob - VERY well said!
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I really think the money problems in the district stem back to the Serino Administration and Scrantino just took over and spent even more money. The hiring spree that these two administrations went on broke the district. Look at the last 2 years they didn't have to replace the 25 teachers that retired. This shows you they were not needed. I applaud the Cosgrove administration for trying to save the district. If we fall back into the mind set of the Serino and Scrantino administration the district will not survive. Tell the President of the board to watch his spending.