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Three interested in Pa. school board vacancy

January 12, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Three men have submitted letters of interest to the Chambersburg Area School District to fill the Region 1 school board seat left vacant by the Christmas Eve death of Paul Ambrose.

Thursday was the deadline set by the board for people interested in serving to submit their letters. The board will interview the applicants and vote on filling the vacancy at its Jan. 17 meeting.

Former board member Robert Helman and William Tolleson, both of Chambersburg, and Brian Blevins of Newburg, Pa., applied for the Region 1 seat, which includes Letterkenny and Lurgan townships and parts of Greene Township.

Elected in November 2005, Ambrose, 69, was finishing the first year of a four-year term on the board when he died. The person chosen to replace him will fill the vacancy through this year.

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Because of Ambrose's death, the Region 1 seat will be up for election this year, with the winner finishing out the final two years of Ambrose's term. Candidates may begin circulating nominating petitions next month for the May 15 primary.

Helman, 55, a farmer and school bus driver, served on the board 12 years before being defeated by Ambrose. When interviewed last week, Helman said he plans to run for election.

Helman also said he wants to help the district with its building program, particularly on the secondary level.

Tolleson, 45, said he served nine years on the Culpeper County (Va.) School Board, including as chairman. Like Chambersburg, Culpeper County had several buildings projects during his time on the board, he said.

A six-year resident of the district, Tolleson works at the Target Distribution Center and three of his four children are enrolled in district schools. He said he is considering running for the seat in the primary.

Blevins could not be reached Thursday. A farmer, Blevins served on the school district's tax study commission last year.

The nine-member commission was required under Pennsylvania's Act 1 school property tax reform law to make a recommendation to the board on shifting taxes from real estate to earned income taxes. The recommendation will be voted on by district residents in the May primary.

The board has until Jan. 25 to fill the Region 1 vacancy, or the appointment will be made by a Court of Common Pleas judge.

The board filled another vacancy Jan. 3 when it appointed Joel Happel, another former school board member, to fill the vacancy created by the Dec. 6, 2006, resignation of Craig Musser.

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