Four seats open on Tuscarora School Board

October 28, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Three of the five candidates running for the four seats on the Tuscarora School Board are incumbents, representing a total of 18 years of experience.

The other two candidates are making their first bid in local politics.

The four available seats in the Nov. 8 general election are for four-year terms.

Janice Hawbaker, 47, of 209 Park Ave., Mercersburg, was the top vote-getter in the May 17 primary of the six candidates in that race. She received 1,794 votes.

Hawbaker was appointed to the board to serve out the remaining two years of Roger Price's term.

She previously served a four-year term from 1997 to 2001.

Hawbaker said she wants to stay on board because she has two children in the system.

Also, she said, "There's a lot of growth and development in the district and that brings a lot of challenges."

Jane M. Rice, an eight-year board veteran, ended up in second place in May with 1,425 votes.


Rice, 44, of 5701 Hager Road, Greencastle, Pa., said her continued interest in the education of the district's children has prompted her to run for a third term.

Rice said she also wants to represent the interest of taxpayers.

"I take my responsibility very seriously," Rice said. "I don't come to a decision quickly."

Donnie Piper, a political novice, came in third in the primary with 1,363 votes.

Piper, 50, of 10576 Reeder Road, Mercersburg, said he's running because he thinks the school board is in disarray.

"There's no teacher contract and there's a housing boom with the possibility of more coming," he said.

Piper's goal as a board member will be to "make sure that the students of today have the same opportunity that I did, and that was to get a good education."

Piper said he graduated from James Buchanan High School in 1972 in the school's first graduating class.

Jeffrey L. Spidel, president of the school board, will end his second four-year term this year.

Spidel, 51, of 2364 Apple Way, St. Thomas, Pa., was fourth in primary results with 1,309 votes.

Spidel said he feels that everyone owes something to the community they live in.

"This is my way to give back, to help the students and the taxpayers," he said.

Spidel said he is excited about the new school building projects, which provide students and teachers with a positive learning environment.

Beckie Jo Higgins, another newcomer, came in fifth in the primary with 1,266 votes, enough to advance her candidacy to the general election.

Higgins, 34, of 1086 St. Thomas/Williamson Road, St. Thomas, is the second challenger in the election.

If Higgins gets on the board, she wants to improve communication between its members and those who work with the students, she said.

Higgins said she is running a "word-of-mouth campaign" and will work the polls.

"I'm not doing anything extraordinary," she said.

William Pupo finished sixth in the May 17 primary with 922 votes and did not advance to the general election.

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