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Candidate drops out, leaving 5 unopposed

Victory appears to have come early for five Avonworth School Board candidates.

Leslie Lancaster, of Ben Avon, has pulled out of the race, leaving the remaining candidates unopposed for five vacant seats. Her name won’t appear on the ballot.

Lancaster, who has been an active volunteer in the district, said she decided that being on the school board is not the best way for her to work for the schools.

“I am concerned that my skin is not thick enough to be on the school board,” she said. “You really should not let emotion get in the way of a job like that.”

Four of the five remaining candidates are cross-filed as Democrats and Republicans. A fifth candidate, Brenda Barlek, who lives in Ohio Township, will run unopposed on the Democratic ballot.

Lancaster came in last among seven candidates in May’s Democratic primary. She was fifth among six candidates in the Republican primary.

The remaining candidates are lawyer Peter McKay, of Ben Avon; former school board member Marybeth Sommers, of Emsworth; Avonworth High School teacher Peter Domencic, of Emsworth; and law student Rob Wible, of Ohio Township.

Domencic already has informed the school board that he will resign his teaching position upon taking office as a board member.

Despite Lancaster’s withdrawal, Barlek said she is not taking victory for granted.

“It’s not over until it’s over,” she said. “There could always be write-in candidates.”

Five current board members — Jack Connors, Betsy Radcliffe, Gary Short, Susan Abramowich and Michael Mohr — are not seeking re-election.


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