By Jamie Wiggan
After losing three board members in late June, the Sto-Rox School District has since filled one of those seats and interviewed a candidate for another of the remaining two.
The board voted to appoint Sto-Rox graduate Cameron Culliver during its July 23 voting meeting, after interviewing him at an agenda review session the previous week. He will fill Kevin Farley’s region one seat for the remainder of the term, which expires in December 2021.
During his interview, Culliver touted his commitment to the community and experience in the United States Air Force as assets he would contribute to the district.
“I’ve always done my best to give back to the community,” he said.
Moving ahead with interviews, the board questioned Stowe-native Michelina Cersosimo for one of the two remaining vacancies created by Patrick Dorrenbacher and Grace Weber, whose departures were both approved at the July 23 meeting.
An English professor at the Community College of Allegheny County, Cersosimo said her background in education, combined with corporate management experience, makes her an ideal candidate.
Cersosimo said she would work closely with educators and try to make space for deeper community input in district affairs.
“If I could do anything to help our students get a better start in this world…” she said.
The board did not vote on Cersisimo’s application, indicating a decision would be made after the interviews of two additional applicants on Aug. 13.
The board also appointed Director Ken Hohman as the new board treasurer, replacing Dorrenbacher.
After quietly tendering his resignation in late June, veteran school director Patrick Dorrenbacher elaborated on his reasons for stepping down during a recent interview.
Dorrenbacher stressed he had no ill feelings toward his former colleagues but instead resented the lack of concern shown by state officials during his nearly 10 years representing the district.
“No one [in the state legislature] wants to do anything,” he said. “They have to give the local districts some help.”
Dorrenbacher’s resignation came shortly after a June 25 meeting, where the board approved an annual budget with a $3 million deficit.
“We can’t give our kids the basics,” he said.
Dorrenbacher said the state’s funding model, which relies heavily on local taxation, is to blame for the district’s bleak finances. The only viable solution he sees is to consolidate districts and spread out the financial burden.