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School board to reinterview candidates

February 22, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - On Wednesday, three people who were candidates to fill a Waynesboro Area School Board vacancy were offered the opportunity to reinterview for the position as the board attempts to dispel the belief that it violated the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act when it appointed the Rev. Lee Daywalt on Jan. 9, officials said.

A special meeting Friday at 5 p.m. will allow the full school board to reinterview Daywalt, Ed Wilson and Firmadge Crutchfield.

"We want to be double sure that everything's OK," said James Flower Jr., the board's solicitor.

Each of the men has a desire to reinterview, although Wilson said he might have a scheduling conflict.

Todd A. Rock of Mont Alto, Pa., resigned from the school board in December after he won a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Board policy called for public interviews in appointing someone to the seat.

However, the interview sessions were not advertised, Flower said, adding that he discovered the error after being pressed by the media.

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The board charged Flower with determining its course of corrective action.

"The board has taken this very seriously from the beginning," Flower said. "The intention of the board is that they'll act in accordance with their policy" by publicly interviewing the men Friday.

The board can ratify its previous decision - which had been on a 6-2 vote - or take other action, Flower said. The board reserves the right to start the process over, although the vacancy and application deadline properly were advertised, he said.

School Board President Larry Glenn said district personnel were told to contact the candidates Wednesday to offer an invitation to reinterview.

Crutchfield, an attorney and the chief financial officer for a government contractor, said his financial and budgetary experience qualify him for the position. He also was an assistant dean of a law school.

Crutchfield, who has four children, pulled his two school-aged children from the public system and enrolled them in private school over concerns about the district. The Quincy, Pa., man said that while he has the "financial wherewithal" to do that, he wants to remedy the problems for residents who do not.

Wilson, of South Mountain, Pa., expressed irritation with tax increases and the ongoing $46 million high school expansion and renovation project.

"My great-grandchildren are going to be paying for that one," Wilson said.

He feels the interviews should be open to the public, but said the "last-minute deal" notifying him of Friday's meeting created a scheduling dilemma.

Daywalt said his desire to serve on the school board came from a love of the community.

"I'm from the area. My family has been in this area for eight generations," said Daywalt, of South Mountain.

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