By Mary Spicer
Randolph Township resident Mark Parker was appointed to the PENNCREST School Board during a special board meeting Tuesday night.
Parker will fill the seat vacated with the departure of Harold Shorts, whose letter of resignation was accepted by the board during its Jan. 10 monthly meeting.
Parker’s term expires Dec. 1.
Four candidates were interviewed Tuesday night; following a brief deliberation, the board appointed Parker by a vote of six to one with Trudy Whitman casting the sole dissenting vote. Harry Hicks was absent. Board members unanimously agreed that they had excellent candidates to choose from and it was a difficult decision.
During his interview, Parker said he was seeking the seat because he would like to play a role in controlling taxes. “I would like to preserve what we have here,” he continued, noting that all three of his children who have already graduated from PENNCREST have done well and he has one child who is currently a seventh-grader.
Parker, who works for Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Cambridge Springs, said that he is out in the public a lot as part of his job and hears a lot of complaints. “I would like to be able to give a better-educated response,” he said.
Like Shorts and seven other members of the board, Parker is a resident of the district’s Maplewood attendance area. Board member Chris Kondzielski lives in the Cambridge Springs attendance area.
Parker was sworn in with Ted Watts, the school district’s attorney and a notary public, administering the oath of office.
Gerry Deane, William Sleptzoff and Mark Gerow, the three other candidates interviewed for the position, all indicated during their interviews that they will seek seats on the board during the upcoming election.
All of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts are governed by nine-member school boards with each member serving a four-year term. Throughout the state, the terms of four school board members will expire in December; the terms of the remaining five board members will expire in December 2015.
School board candidates are allowed to cross-file; if enough votes are received in the primary, a candidate can be listed on both the Republican and Democratic party lines.
In addition to Parker’s term, the terms of board President Luigi DeFrancesco, Hicks and Tom McDermott all expire in December.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.