41 seek 26 school board seats in Frankllin Co.

April 02, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Help wanted: Community member willing to work long hours, attend four or five meetings a month, and make decisions that will affect people’s lives and wallets. No experience necessary; no salary provided.

The job description might not seem appealing to many people, but most school board members say they find the work rewarding.

This year’s election season presents several contested school board races in Franklin County, Pa. Combined, 41 people are running for 26 board positions in the five school districts completely contained within Franklin County’s borders.

Budgetary constraints and the possibility of cuts in school districts might be leading to increased interest among potential candidates, according to Bev Cigler, a Penn State University professor who teaches about local and state government, as well as intergovernmental relations at the college’s Harrisburg, Pa., campus.

“These are rough times at the local level,” she said.

Cigler said turnover seems to be increasing on local government boards, many of which also have problems finding people to fill the positions.

“A lot of people run and realize it’s not what they thought it was,” Cigler said, saying elected officials can be surprised by the time commitment and hassles like late-night phone calls from constituents.

The Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development and Pennsylvania School Boards Association provide good resources for people who want to learn more about serving on school boards, Cigler said.

In Waynesboro, 14 people are seeking six open seats — five four-year terms and one two-year term. The board members serve by region, representing geographic areas.

Three people are running for two open seats representing the Borough of Waynesboro. They are incumbents Sherry Cline and Billie Finn, both of whom were appointed to their seats, and political newcomer David Wilson.

Cline said she’s running to continue her service on the board, which started after a job change meant she was no longer working with character-education programs.

“I’ve always been involved in not only the Waynesboro schools, but all the school districts in Franklin County in 15 years,” Cline said.

Finn, who was appointed to the board in 2010, has concerns about student scores on state tests, especially at the high-school level.

“I am running because I really feel like I can make a difference. ... I felt if I do value education and if there was anything I could do to turn (student achievement) around, I should do it,” Finn said, saying her greatest interests are motivating students and creating a better educational foundation.

Budgetary and teacher-contract issues have monopolized the board’s time in the past couple years, Finn said.

Wilson said he was previously unable to hold elected office because the federal Hatch Act prevented him due to being active duty in the military. He retired a year ago.

“I thought this was a good opportunity. There seemed to be a need,” Wilson said. “More than a couple of my friends have expressed some concerns about the board of education.”

In Chambersburg, seven people are seeking election. At least one person filed to run in each of the five regions with open seats.

David Sciamanna will be leaving the board after two terms representing Region 7.

“I did it because I felt the school district was not keeping pace with the needs in the community, the changing needs. I just felt we needed new thinking on the board,” Sciamanna said.

Sciamanna said people are quick to criticize the board’s work, but few people are willing to put themselves in that role.

“There is a lot involved with being on a school board, particularly with the size of Chambersburg,” Sciamanna said.

Sciamanna ran with Lori Leedy and Renee Sharpe eight years ago. Although the three came on the board together, Sciamanna said they haven’t hesitated to vote differently on matters if their views diverged. He talked about an overall cooperation on the Chambersburg Area School Board.

“Everybody on our board is very kid-focused, child-focused,” Sciamanna said.

Negotiating a contract with the Chambersburg Area Education Association has been difficult for the school board members, according to Sciamanna.

“It’s hard when you have to say ‘no,’” he said.

Overall, Sciamanna called the school board experience “extremely rewarding,” but he wanted to focus on other areas of his life. The board now faces increased enrollment and decreased local, state and federal revenue, whereas years ago, a strong local tax base allowed it to take on many projects, including major construction initiatives.

Sciamanna said he was surprised by the number of people seeking election in some school districts.

“It’s not going to be fun because cuts are the name of the game for the next couple years,” he said.

Sciamanna speculated that Chambersburg has fewer school board candidates than other districts because most people are fairly satisfied with the board’s work.

“Every month, every meeting, I learn something new. ... The bottom line is nine people can make a tremendous difference in the community,” Sciamanna said.

The following candidates have filed to run for school board in Franklin County’s largest school districts.
The primary election is May 17.

Tuscarora School Board

  • Cory Putt, cross-filed, 11900 Mercersburg Road, Mercersburg
  • Dan Reeder, cross-filed, incumbent, 1350 Shields Road, St. Thomas
  • Clifford A. Smith Jr., R, incumbent, 11670 Mercersburg Road, Mercersburg
  • Christopher Ardinger, cross-filed, 6762 Brant Drive, Mercersburg
  • Thomas C. Black, cross-filed, incumbent, 8477 Diehls Woods Road, St. Thomas
  • Daryl Hunsberger, R, incumbent, 11503 Hunter Road, Mercersburg
  • David W. Clark Sr., R, 13881 Mercersburg Road, Mercersburg

Greencastle-Antrim School Board
  • Sheldon A. Schwartz, cross-filed, 4127 Fletcher Drive, Greencastle
  • Tracy L. Baer, cross-filed, 14175 Rocking M Lane, Greencastle
  • Paul Politis, cross-filed, incumbent, 357 Blue Bird Trail, Greencastle
  • Howard B. Ritchey, cross-filed, incumbent, 3375 Westview Circle, Greencastle
  • Ken Haines, cross-filed, 227 Tyrone St., Greencastle
  • Melinda E. Cordell, cross-filed, incumbent, 6292 Angle Road, Chambersburg
  • Eric Holtzman, cross-filed, incumbent, 59 Hearthside Lane, Greencastle
  • Linda K. Farley, cross-filed, 79 Celestial Terrace, Greencastle
  • Michael Still, cross-filed, 464 Tall Cedar Lane, Greencastle

Waynesboro Area School Board
14 candidates

Borough of Waynesboro seats
  • Billie W. Finn, cross-filed, incumbent, 203 Clayton Ave., Waynesboro
  • David W. Wilson, cross-filed, 524 Fairview Ave., Waynesboro
  • Sherry Cline, cross-filed, incumbent, 607 Clayton Ave., Waynesboro

Washington Township seats
  • K. Marilyn Smith, cross-filed, incumbent, 12365 Wedgewood Drive, Waynesboro
  • Pat Heefner, cross-filed, incumbent, 10591 Buena Vista Drive, Waynesboro
  • Rita Daywalt, cross-filed, 11100 Prices Church Road, Waynesboro
  • Ashley M. Newcomer, cross-filed, 8 Eastland Circle, Waynesboro
  • Emilee Eckels Bakner, cross-filed, 179 Briar Ridge Drive, Waynesboro
  • Gregory Ochoa, cross-filed, 8461 Oxford Circle, Waynesboro
  • Amy Churchman, cross-filed, 12124 Forest Hill Road, Waynesboro

North End seat
  • Edward Wilson, cross-filed, incumbent, 11610 South Mountain Road, Fayetteville
  • Frimadge W. Crutchfield, cross-filed, incumbent, 8770 Orlando Drive, Waynesboro
  • Emily R. Hartsock, R, 6310 Wayne Highway, Waynesboro
  • Tammy Black, cross-filed, 8115 Shank Hess Road, Waynesboro

Chambersburg Area School Board

Region Two
  • Stanley J. Helman, cross-filed, incumbent, 2140 Guilford Station, Chambersburg

Region Five
  • Andrea Malmont, cross-filed, 3595 Eagle Drive, Chambersburg
  • David Phillip Miracle, R, 2316 Ocracoke Island Court, Chambersburg

Region Seven
  • Joan Smith, cross-filed, 1055 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg
  • John H. Ireton-Hewitt, R, 740 E. Washington St. No. 4, Chambersburg

Region Eight
  • Kim Amsley-Camp, cross-filed, 1555 Wilson Ave., Chambersburg

Region Nine
  • Anne G. Boryan, cross-filed, incumbent, 420 E. Liberty St., Chambersburg

Fannett-Metal School Board
  • R. Gary Dinsmore, cross-filed, incumbent, 9605 Sweetwater Road, Fort Loudon
  • Paul D. Hurrell, cross-filed, incumbent, 18946 Hill Road, Willow Hill
  • Shelly L. Boggs, cross-filed, incumbent, 16626 S. Dry Run Road, Dry Run
  • Daniel P. Simpson, cross-filed, incumbent, 19987 Spring Run Road, Spring Run

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