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Tolleson appointed to fill vacancy on Chambersburg board

January 18, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After a first ballot in which none of the three applicants gained the required majority, the Chambersburg School Board on Wednesday appointed William Tolleson to fill the vacancy created by the Christmas Eve death of Region 1 board member Paul Ambrose.

Tolleson, 45, a former member and chairman of the Culpeper County (Va.) School Board, received five votes on the second ballot as board member David Sciamanna switched his vote from Robert Helman.

Board President Thomas Orndorf, Vice President Renee Sharpe, Lori Leedy and Joel Happel joined Sciamanna in voting for Tolleson.

In the second ballot, board member Stanley Helman voted for his brother Robert, and board members Fred Rice and Norman Blowers voted for Brian Blevins.

Robert Helman, a farmer, served 12 years on the board before being defeated by Ambrose in a close campaign in 2005. Blevins, also a farmer, had served on the district's local tax study commission last year.

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Tolleson's appointment runs through the rest of this year. Whomever is to fill out the remainder of Ambrose's four-year term will have to run for election this year.

During their public interviews before the board, all three men had indicated they were considering running for the seat in the May 15 primary.

"As a family, we're still kicking it around," Tolleson said of his running for the office. He put the odds at "better than 50-50."

"If there has been a long-term plan, it has not been articulated well," Tolleson said when asked what he perceived as a failing of the district.

"On the funding side, a key thing is to help taxpayers understand that children are at the center of all decisions," he said.

The appointment of Tolleson and the Jan. 3 appointment of Happel to fill another vacancy brings the board back to nine members.

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