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Helman applies to fill school board vacancy

January 07, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Former Chambersburg School Board member Robert L. Helman, who lost his Region 1 seat in 2005, has submitted a letter of interest to the school district to fill the vacancy created by the Dec. 24 death of Paul Ambrose.

"I just feel that I served 12 years and came in second in a close race," Helman said when asked why he wants to return to the board.

Helman served three four-year terms on the board before losing to Ambrose in the November 2005 election.

"I feel that I ran a good campaign and had a lot of supporters," Helman said of the race.

Helman ran a write-in campaign against Ambrose, who had won both the Republican and Democratic primaries in 2005. Helman filed for both primaries, but withdrew his name for the Democratic primary after it was revealed that he circulated his nominating petition and had a registered Democrat sign the circulator's affidavit.

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"I'd like to see progress at the secondary level and unity on the board," Helman said, although he often was on the opposite side of debates with his brother, Stanley Helman, who also is on the board.

At this point, Helman said he plans to run in the May 15 primary. He declined to answer specific questions about his views on school board issues, saying he preferred to leave that until Jan. 17, when the board will interview those who have submitted letters of interest.

On Wednesday, the board authorized the district to advertise for letters of interest to fill the vacancy. Superintendent Joseph Padasak said Helman's was the only letter received as of Thursday afternoon.

Padasak said the board has until Jan. 25 to fill the vacancy, or the appointment will be made by a Court of Common Pleas judge.

The board filled another vacancy Wednesday, appointing former school board member Joel Happel to the seat of former board president Craig Musser, who resigned Dec. 6, saying he wanted to devote more time to his family and career.

Musser defeated Happel when he ran for re-election in 1999.

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