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Pa. school board member faces challenger

November 02, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Renee Sharpe was unopposed in the May 15 primary, winning both the Republican and Democratic nominations for the Region 8 seat she first won in 2003, but the candidate will not be alone on the ballot.

Dr. Daniel L. McGehee, 63, a family physician who moved to Chambersburg from California about two years ago, is also on the ballot as the "Resolute Responsible Representation" candidate. The political affiliation name is a play on the "three Rs," he said.

"I decided a few years ago I didn't like what was happening with the Republicans and Democrats," McGehee said. "They lost sight of the goal ... The USA. All of us belong."

Sharpe, 51, was one of three candidates elected in 2003 as The Team for Change and wants to see initiatives begun in the past four years completed in a second term. The district has made strides in academic achievement in the past three years with programs such as progress monitoring in reading, something she said should be expanded to math.

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"I want to see the new West End School through to completion," Sharpe said, speaking of a new elementary school being built on the site of the former U.L. Gordy Elementary School. The district needs to form a transition team for the consolidation of the Gordy, King Street and Mary B. Sharpe schools, she said.

"I also want to see us have a complete facilities plan out to five years and 10 years" that gives a timeline for the consolidation of the elementary program for the district, Sharpe said. She also wants to see the $73.8 million high school project completed and a decision made and implemented on the future of the Franklin County Career and Technology Center.

She also is interested in redistricting - shifting the boundaries of what students attend which schools. Sharpe said elementary schools should have a better racial and socioeconomic balance to prepare students for entering middle school.

"What the community says education is and what is coming out of the administration and the board are not necessarily the same," McGehee said. His campaign has focused on getting to know the residents and finding out how they define education, he said.

The board should be less concerned with diversity, multiculturalism and other social issues and more concerned about teaching students, McGehee said.

One of his campaign points has been that the district think of raising taxes as the only means of achieving educational goals, he said.

"The community does not believe there is much communication" between it and the school board, McGehee said. "One of my goals is to try and open up a dialogue."

If elected, that could include having monthly meetings with Region 8 residents to hear their concerns, McGehee said. He would then take those comments back to the board and relay the board's responses back to the residents, he said.

However, this race turns out, there will be new faces on the board. Ann Boryan is running unopposed for the Region 9 seat now held by Joel Happel. Happel, who was appointed to fill a vacancy, did not run for election.

In Region 1, Joseph Tosten won both party nominations over William Tolleson, who was also appointed to fill a vacancy.

Lori Leedy in Region 5 and David Sciamanna in Region 7 are both unopposed for re-election.

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