11 seek seats on Chambersburg Area School Board

March 27, 2003|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - With six newcomers challenging five incumbents for seats on the Chambersburg Area School Board of Directors, the dynamics of the nine-member board could change dramatically by the end of the year.

Some candidates in the May primary said they are fed up with what they see as indecision by the current board to come up with a clear plan to tackle overcrowding at the senior high school.

"The reason I'm running is the current school board is just spinning its wheels," said Kirby Hockensmith, who is challenging board President Stanley Helman to represent Region 2.


The board began exploring ways to move the ninth-graders out of the junior high school more than two years ago. This winter, board members voted 5-4 to study ways to create a unified campus with grades nine to 12 at the current senior high school site and neighboring property on Stanley Avenue.

Hockensmith said the board needs to put aside differences.

"It seems like they can't work together and can't come together and decide what is best for the school and community," he said. "The school board has not been able to get anything done. I'm afraid if they all get in the next four years, we won't get anything done."

Michael Finucane, who is running for his second term on the board representing Region 7, said the $9 million Scotland Elementary School project and high school renovations slated to get under way in June are great achievements.

"It is fine for people to focus on what is not yet done, but it should be recognized there is a lot being done," Finucane said.

Finucane said that while the board is taking its time making a decision on the secondary building plan, it is time well spent.

"The truth is there is an honest difference of opinion within the community. That is why the board is taking time," he said.

Finucane, who faces a challenge from David Sciamanna, favors dividing the district into two high schools, but said he recognizes there is not enough support for that.

"Any opinion people have, there is a large segment that has a different opinion. The key is to find the firm middle ground," he said.

Renee Sharpe, who is challenging board member Bill Fosnot for the open seat in Region 8, said the board has had its chance and it's time to move forward at a faster pace.

"Everywhere I go, people talk about their dissatisfaction with the lack of movement. People are willing to step out and say 'I can move this forward, not only for our students but for our community,'" she said.

She said she would involve more community members in the planning process to mold community consensus on a building plan.

Sharpe is running as a team with newcomers Larry Hoover, Lori Leedy and Sciamanna.

"We felt as a team with our united goals, we would get people talking about kids and what is right for the district," she said. "Let's get the discussion focused not only on facilities, but on curriculum too."

Craig Musser, who is running for his second term representing Region 9, said he would like to see some new faces on the board.

"Sometimes one or two new people revs things up and brings new energy to the group," he said.

Musser said that's not to say the current nine board members don't get along.

"I think as a group we get along well together. I think on many issues we are evenly divided, which makes it tough to build a consensus and move things forward from my standpoint," Musser said.

Musser is opposed to the current plan to study housing all ninth- to 12th-graders on the existing campus and the neighboring property.

"With that we have a set or fixed area that really limits our ability to expand in future years," he said.

The Parent Advisory Council has invited the 11 candidates to a public forum April 28 at Chambersburg Area Middle School.

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Candidates for the Chambersburg Area School Board of Directors include:

Region 2

  • Stanley J. Helman, 2468 Guilford Station, Chambersburg (R/D)

  • Kirby Hockensmith, 2185 Hartzok Road, Chambersburg (R)

  • Larry L. Hoover, 273 Heritage Road, Chambersburg (R/D)

Region 5

  • Lori Leedy, 1069 Fiddler's Road, Chambersburg (R/D)

  • Penny W. Stoner, 2790 Grand Point Road, Chambersburg (R/D)

Region 7

  • Michael B. Finucane, 429 Kraiss Ave., Chambersburg (R/D)

  • David Sciamanna, 575 Montgomery Ave., Chambersburg (R/D)

    Region 8

    • Harold W. Fosnot, Jr., 322 Glen St., Chambersburg (R/D)

    • Renee Sharpe, 630 Philadelphia Ave., Chambersburg (R/D)

    Region 9

    • Craig Musser, 322 Cosell Drive, Chambersburg (R/D)

    • Matthew J. Sites, 530 E. Catherine St., Chambersburg (R)

The Herald-Mail Articles