Part 3 of 3
Carlynton School Director
In early September, Gazette 2.0 sent out identical questionnaires to the more than 50 candidates running for election to various local offices in the upcoming November elections. The answers are as submitted by the candidate with slight editing for style and grammar.
In this edition, we are featuring the response of George Honchar, Carlynton School Board candidate.
1. What made you decide to run this year?
As with all school districts, there are many needs.I am running again because one need in our school district is for a spokesperson for immigrant students, including many refugees. (At last count we have students with 20 different foreign languages being spoken at home.)
Carlynton is providing all of our students excellent educations. But we of course, also provide this excellent education to kids who often have left extremely dangerous situations back home. Our emotional/psychological support to all of our students is outstanding!
Also, I try to be a spokesperson for retired people living within our school district, some of whom find it very difficult to pay their property taxes. We need property tax relief, which should first emanate from Harrisburg, and by a …political… revolt in Harrisburg, from taxpayers, focusing on tax relief.
As with every one of my fellow school board members who would also agree, we must always keep taxes as low as possible, while still giving our students excellent educations.
2. What would you like to accomplish during your tenure?
During my continued tenure, I would like to see remodeling upgrades made to Carnegie Elementary School, Crafton Elementary School, and to the Junior-Senior High School. As an example, there is only one restroom that is wheelchair accessible throughout Carnegie Elementary School. That one accessible restroom is in the nurse’s office on the first floor. We now have at least one pupil requiring a wheelchair. If she is on the second floor or in the basement, she has to wait for the elevator and then maneuver herself down the hall, spending much time to get to the only restroom that she can use. Not just with restrooms: We MUST update both of our elementary schools! (And then later, our Jr./Sr. High School.) Carlynton provides excellent, and emotionally-supportive, education to our pupils and students. But obviously, homebuyers want to enroll their children in schools that are up-to-date. We will update!
I would also like to see our Carlynton-owned Crafton football field sold. In 2017 Sheetz offered our district $1.5 million for the field (and mini-golf) for a Sheetz restaurant/gas station to be built. Get-Go (through Giant Eagle) then made a substantial counter-offer. Sheetz counter-offered. Get-Go made the final offer of $3.5 million to replace their current old gas station, giving Crafton a state-of-the-art restaurant/station. We want to sell! But members of Crafton Borough Council have been dragging their feet for six years (because Crafton Borough owns the very small piece of land on the corner.) Had development started in 2018, by his own admission, the spokesperson who did Crafton’s “green study” admitted that our school district has already lost over $1 million in property tax revenue, had the property been developed in 2018. And he also admitted that Crafton has also lost over $100,000 in tax revenue if it had been developed in a timely manner. Crafton residents should insist that their borough council cooperate with THEIR school district on the sale.
On top of it, GetGo has offered to return the huge furthest part of the property back to either the school district or the borough for development as a park, or for other resident-friendly amenities. (Possibly including replacing the current mini-golf to that location.) Crafton residents, it’s in your hands to influence your council, so we can move forward on this very lucrative project, beneficial to all of us.
3. Can you talk about some recent votes you agree with and some with which you disagree?
The vote that I disagree with was my motion to allow donated Bibles into each of our three libraries. I’m sorry to say my motion did not pass. Thank God that we do not have the violence that we have seen in other schools, but allowing the Bible to be a ready reference for students can only do good! Other school districts already “allow” Bibles in their libraries for reference. (By “Bible” I mean the New Testament and all of the books of the Jewish Tanach.) Many other school districts already allow the Bible in their libraries.
The policy that I NOW disagree with but supported at the time, was our insistence on masking our children. They lost a great amount of education during that period. We now know that the decisions of all of our school districts in our country, except Florida, were based on untruths coming from bureaucrats. Shame on them. But shame on … myself … for accepting their “wisdom“ as truth.
4. What do you hope never changes about your community?
I hope that our three communities continue to remain the pleasant, extremely livable, and law-abiding communities that we now live in. We are blessed that in spite of the turmoil and violence all around us, especially in the city of Pittsburgh which bounds Crafton, and within blocks of the boundary of Carnegie, that we all feel safe because of our excellent police departments, and our peaceful residents.
5. What would you like to change?
What I would like to change: that other school districts within the USA, as Carlynton already does, would focus on civics and history, so that our children are not misled by opinions that do not support our Bill of Rights: primarily our First Amendment right to speak freely (as I have done in this writing), and being able to worship, if they so choose, every minute of our 24 hour day. Our freedoms are God-given and should never be taken away!
Furthermore, our children must be taught that we must not give up our rights … to the federal and state governments. For instance, as individuals, we should be able to use and to develop our natural resources so to continue, along with our descendants, to enjoy the lifestyle that we have enjoyed, and that has kept our country strong for over 200 years. This freedom thrives because of our strong capitalist economic system. (Ask my family or anyone else who has immigrated to America from Eastern Europe [or Venezuela or Cuba] how rights-usurping, inhumane, and murderous the socialist system is. These immigrants have lived through this evil system that some Americans are foolishly trying to instill in our USA.) Our schools should invite into the classroom those who came from repressive regimes: as examples to our children to the dangers of the socialist economic system.
6. What is your stance on climate change, and what would you like to do locally to address the issue?
There is definitely climate change, primarily NATURAL climate change, with man-made climate change being a minor factor. Man-made climate change is a theory, as is natural climate change. But natural climate change offers a history of seeing centuries-old climatic cycles for over 150 years. In other words, of being able to look back much further than our short lives. Man-made “climate change” is very shortsighted.