The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 21, 2012

School district transfer petition dismissed

— A petition made by 39 Jefferson Township property owners to leave the Somerset Area School District has been dismissed.

The signers asked to form their own temporary independent district before eventually becoming part of the Rockwood Area School District.

In issuing his decision, Somerset County Judge David Klementik ruled the majority of the people making the request were not taxable inhabitants of the region nor did they form a contiguous zone bordering the district into which they wanted to transfer.

Rockwood remained neutral during the legal proceedings that included an argument on Aug. 22. Somerset opposed the petition.

“The district is obviously pleased with the decision,” said Somerset’s co-solicitor, Benjamin Carroll.

“We’re pleased that the court agreed with us.”

Robert Boose, attorney for the petitioners, could not be reached for comment.

Thirty-seven of the petition signers do not live in the area.

Rather, they own local property and would have saved a combined $70,000 annually if the switch was ultimately approved because Rockwood’s tax rate is almost 18 mills less than Somerset’s.

Boose argued the petitioners pay real estate taxes in Somerset County and should therefore be considered taxable inhabitants. Klementik determined “only an individual property owner, residing within the proposed ‘contiguous territory’ at the time the petition is filed and personally subject to tax within the district” should be counted as a taxable inhabitant.

Only two of the signers were determined to be paying local earned income tax, adult residence tax or per capita tax.

Boose said since both signed the petition they met Pennsylvania’s requirement of having more than half of the taxable inhabitants being part of the request. But their properties do not directly abut the Rockwood district, which Klementik felt disqualified the petition.

The judge additionally felt dividing Jefferson Township between two districts would violate the state’s general rule of sending students from the same municipality to the same school.

“We’re very pleased with the amount of time that the judge put into his decision,” said Carroll.

Had Klementik ruled in favor of the signers, the petition would have been sent to the state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis for consideration.

The petitioners have 30 days to appeal the ruling.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • foust_25 Teen shot in Oakhurst

    A 16-year-old New Jersey boy was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Thursday after being shot three times in the Oakhurst section of Johnstown.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Audit: City overspent by $700G in 2013

    Legacy costs contributed significantly to the city of Johnstown coming up $689,000 short in its core services funding during 2013.

    July 24, 2014

  • Kuzma, jonathan Guilty plea in hammer death

    The Johnstown man who authorities said killed his father with a hammer last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal homicide, authorities said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • quecreek rescue Events to mark anniversary of Quecreek rescue

    When word spread that nine Quecreek miners were trapped underground in July 2002, Bill Arnold’s dairy farm quickly became the rescue effort’s ground zero.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huger, Stephen Accused Hornerstown shooter will stand trial

    A Johnstown man will stand trial in connection with a July 12 shooting in the Hornerstown section of the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 25, 2014

  • Board names Zahorchak’s successor

    The Greater Johnstown school board at a special meeting Thursday named a superintendent to replace the retiring superintendent, rehired its last business manager and approved other administrative appointments.

    July 24, 2014

  • Pasquerilla, Mark Pasquerilla recognized as arts patron

    First lady Susan Corbett announced Thursday from the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pa., that Mark Pasquerilla of Johnstown has earned the Patron Award from the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ebensburg gets ready to party

    Party down with a shutdown.
    Downtown Shutdown, a street party featuring music and food, will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday in downtown Ebensburg.

    July 24, 2014

  • ROTARY Local Rotary Club earns recognition

    The Rotary Club of Johnstown was named Outstanding Large Club of the Year in District 7330, which serves 42 Rotary Clubs in seven counties in southwest Pennsylvania, at the Rotary District 7330 and District 7300 Joint Conference that was held June 26 through 29 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads