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Five seek five open seats on Greencastle school board

May 15, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -Four people will appear on primary ballots for five open seats on the Greencastle-Antrim School Board, and at least one other resident is planning a write-in effort to also obtain a nomination.

Incumbents Howard B. Ritchey and Arnie Jansen have opted to run for four-year terms.

Jansen's neighbor, Eric Holtzman, will be running as will Paul Politis. Kristy M. Faulkner has announced a write-in campaign, meaning her name must be written on 10 ballots of either party to proceed to the general election this November.

Faulkner, a homemaker, has been living in the school district since October 2006, following a move from North Carolina. Her two children started the school year last August.

Registered as a nonaffiliated voter, Faulkner learned that too few people were running for seats on the school board and decided to enter the mix. She has a background in accounting and had been the finance director of a YMCA.

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"There's that part of me that wants to use the skills I have," said Faulkner, 33.

Faulkner, of Charlotte Court in Greencastle, identified key issues in the district as growth and vacancies pending within the administration.

Holtzman is a Republican who has cross-filed to appear on both the Democratic and Republican ballots.

A vice president at Citigroup, Holtzman, 38, said he chose to run because he "wanted the opportunity to serve the community and participate in my daughter's education." He wants to maintain the district's excellence and explore ways to manage growth.

Holtzman, of 59 Hearthside Lane in Greencastle, volunteers through Junior Achievement and serves on a board exploring the future of the Franklin County (Pa.) Career and Technology Center.

"As the husband of an educator who works with children with special needs, I see the need for an educational system that is flexible and looks at the individual needs of all children," said Holtzman, who has lived in the district for almost four years.

Jansen, a Republican who cross-filed, has served two years on the board and is running for his first full term. He has lived in the district for 16 years.

"There's a civic duty to perform, and I think I bring skills to the decision-making process," said Jansen, who declined to answer when asked his age.

Jansen manages vendor relationships with First Data and is working toward a teaching certificate to add onto his bachelor's degree. He has served on the school board's facilities and technology committees and has served with the Boy Scouts, Greencastle Planning Commission and American Youth Soccer Organization.

Jansen, of 67 Hearthside Lane in Greencastle, perceives Act 1 of 2006 and growth as issues before the board.

Politis, a Democrat who did not cross-file, served on the Forbes Road School Board in Fulton County, Pa., for 16 years. He has lived in the Greencastle-Antrim School District for almost six years.

Politis, 58, of 56 Homestead Drive in Greencastle, is a former newspaper reporter who covered school boards for 15 years.

"I've probably sat through more school board meetings than any other person in Franklin County," he said.

Now semi-retired, Politis decided to run when discovering, near the end of the filing period, that few people had expressed an interest in being on the board. He wants to manage growth in a way that provides "a quality education system that will handle all the kids and keep taxes reasonable."

Ritchey, finishing his third term on the school board, opted to run again because "I think we are making a difference in the kids' lives."

A resident of the district since 1971, Ritchey has concerns about the transition into management under Act 1 and the implications of ballot referendums provided by it.

"I'm very concerned about voter referendums," said Ritchey, 66. "I've seen it happen many times where a referendum is voted down."

Ritchey, who is retired but does taxes part of the year, is a Republican who did not cross-file. He lives at 3375 Westview Circle in Greencastle.

The primary election is May 15 in Pennsylvania. The top five vote-getters from each party will advance to November's general election.

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