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Board president Reiss loses primary, but Pennridge field still crowded


Ten candidates — five Democrats and five Republicans — earned spots on the fall ballot after Tuesday’s Primary Election results in the Pennridge School District. There are five open seats on the school board.

According to unofficial results from the Bucks County Board of Elections, Carolyn Sciarrino, a former social services worker, was the top vote-getter (3,836) on the Democrat side while Joshua Hogan, a West Rockhill resident and founder of the now-defunct ReOpen Bucks movement during the pandemic, collected the most votes (3,651) on the GOP side.

Speaking on behalf of the five candidates who were endorsed by the Pennridge GOP, Hogan said they are “looking forward to keeping the district moving in the right direction by using our vision of a united board that leads with integrity and transparency.”

Two of three incumbents will appear on the ballot — Democrat Ron Wurz (3,385 votes) and Republican Jonathan Russell (3,132 votes). After being appointed to the board as a Republican in 2021, Wurz switched parties before the primary because he was dissatisfied with the board’s direction.

Current Board President David Reiss (1,557 votes), whose leadership style has been criticized during recent controversies over transgender issues, graduation requirements, and proposed curriculum changes, did not make the cut on the Republican side. He had failed to land the Pennridge GOP’s endorsement for reelection.

Two other incumbents — Megan Banis-Clemens and Joan Cullen — chose not to run. At one point, Banis-Clemens and Cullen were staunch political allies but had a falling out in recent years.

Rounding out the fall ballot are Democrats Chris Kaufman, Leah Foster Rash, and Bradley Merkyl-Gump. On the Republican side, Bob Sellers, Barbara Vees, and Jim York will join Hogan and Russell.

After spending the day talking to voters at the polls, Foster Rash said she heard many common themes “around pride in our community, our families, our homes, our schools, and our democracy.”

But she said she also heard a common thread of frustration with the current board.

“Regardless of the political affiliation of a board member, they need the skills to listen, cooperate, and find common ground,” said Foster Rash, a cross-filed candidate who collected 3,704 votes from Democrats and 829 from Republicans. “The school board should not be a struggle over personal beliefs. We need board members who represent everyone in the district and bring peaceful solutions that can actually be implemented and do not jeopardize the students, teachers, or the district.”

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