Jerry Lynott, Times Leader, April 14, 2011
The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board on Wednesday agreed to set up a $33,000 educational fund to settle claims raised by the parents of a special education student.
During the public comment period Ryan Wojtowicz of Ashley and Steve Smith of Pittston raised concerns about the district’s seeking out minority applicants for teaching positions.
The two men said they objected to the Ron Felton of the NAACP speaking at last month’s meeting to push his “agenda” of hiring minority teachers.
In response to Felton providing the board with the resumes of what he said were three qualified candidates, Superintendent Jeff Namey said they would be at the top of the list when screening begins for the next school year.
“That’s completely anti-white,” said Wojtowicz of the priority treatment given to the minority applicants.
But Namey said that “if a minority applicant is not as qualified as any other applicant, they would not be considered.”
The majority of teachers in the district are white while the number of minority students continues to grow, Namey said. For that reason more role models are needed for the minority population, he added.
Smith was not sold on Namey’s explanation.
“Diversity is not a strength,” said Smith.
The board sat silent on the hiring of minority, however, it voted unanimously to send a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett expressing its opposition to his proposed cuts in basic education.