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Pa. school board fails to settle on new candidate

December 21, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Three interviews, three votes and three ties led to no decision Wednesday night on filling the vacancy on the Chambersburg School Board.

The board voted 4-4 three times on two of the three applicants to fill the vacancy created earlier this month with the resignation of then-board president Craig Musser of Region 9. New Board President Thomas Orndorf and board members Renee Sharpe, David Sciamanna and Lori Leedy voted each time for Anne Gotwals Boryan, while board members Stanley Helman, Fred Rice, Norman Blowers and Paul Ambrose voted for Harold Fosnot Jr.

The board will take another stab at filling the seat within the 30-day deadline, recessing Wednesday's meeting until Jan. 3. In the meantime, the board will run an advertisement re-opening the application process for any qualified Region 9 resident until noon on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Region 9 includes both precincts of Chambersburg Ward 3 and Precinct 1 in Ward 2.

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If no applicant receives the required five votes at that meeting, the matter of filling the vacancy will go to the Court of Common Pleas, possibly to President Judge John R. Walker.

Fosnot, 56, and Boryan, 50, were both interviewed prior to the voting, as was 80-year-old Clarence Neil, who garnered no votes on any of the ballots.

Fosnot, who served four terms on the board representing Region 8 before being defeated in 2003 by Sharpe, appeared prescient during his interview when asked by Orndorf what he perceived as one of the board's biggest failures in recent years:

"You can't go forward without making a decision," he said.

"Here we go again. Can't make a decision," Leedy said after the second vote. "Take it to a judge."

Orndorf prevailed upon the board for a third vote, but the outcome was the same.

The board could choose between Fosnot, Boryan or Neil on Jan. 3, or anyone else who submits an application.

School board solicitor Jan Sulcove told the board the deadline to name a replacement is Jan. 5. If a replacement is not named on Jan. 3, Sulcove said 10 residents of the district can petition the court after Jan. 5 to make the appointment, he said.

The group of petitioners could, Sulcove said, include the remaining eight board members.

Boryan, the daughter of a former school board member, and Neil, a retired federal employee, both said they would run for election in the May primary if appointed. Fosnot said he was undecided.

"It might depend on how I mesh with the board," he said. If there was "too much politics and not enough work being done ... I might not run."

"I can't agree with the positions she's taken ... on issues," Helman said of Boryan. He said Fosnot will support the board's position on renovating and expanding Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

"I felt the person I voted for is the right person for the job," Sharpe said of Boryan. "She'd bring a great dimension to the job."

"It shows the division on the board that goes back a number of years," Fosnot said of the tie vote.

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