Oct. 28—WILKES-BARRE — Wilkes-Barre resident Sam Troy, a frequent and often harsh critic of the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board, has announced another run for a seat on the board as an independent.
With a bachelor's from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters from the University of Scranton, Troy has taught English at area colleges and currently teaches yoga. He is a frequent attendee at School Board meetings, often blasting the spending decisions, and was a staunch opponent of the recently completed new high school in Plains Township, which this year consolidated grades 9-12 from the three previous high schools.
As is often the case, Troy did not mince words in an emailed statement announcing his run
"I found it extremely difficult to sit idly by while four incompetent candidates for the board who have initiated an egregious consolidation plan without any or very little public input get reelected. Since the start of this project about five or six years ago, the lack of transparency as it proceeded forward has been extremely disturbing. This project in my estimation is going to leave the district in dire financial and academic straits."
District officials have said the consolidation will save money and argue it has helped put the district on firm financial footing after internal and outside reviews several years ago projected large deficits if changes weren't made.
"To make matters worse," Troy continued, "there has been considerable price gouging on the part of all contractors, engineers, architects etc. involved in the construction of the school. Even a [cursory] glance at the project's bills that have been paid over the past few years reveals several companies taking advantage of the board's cavalier fiscal oversight."
District officials and School Board members have repeatedly said the project is under budget and that bill payments and the work they cover have been scrutinized at multiple levels before checks are written.
Troy also raised a newer issue he has been pushing in recent months, that there is no radon testing at the new school. District officials have countered that the school has no basement — the primary source of radon in most buildings — and that ventilation system exchanges air throughout the building about every nine minutes, further reducing the possibility of any radon accumulating to a dangerous level.
Troy ran as an independent in 2017, which allows a candidate to skip the primaries and still get on the ballot. There are four open seats in the upcoming general election. Three incumbents — Joe Caffrey, Denise Thomas and Ned Evans — are cross-filed and won both party nominations in the primary. Former Board Member James Susek is also on the ballot after winning both party nominations. Troy is the only other name on the ballot, as an independent.
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish