Meadville Tribune

December 4, 2013

Sharply-divided PENNCREST board elects leaders

By Mary Spicer
Meadville Tribune

SAEGERTOWN — Although Article 3 of Pennsylvania’s Public School Code specifies that the terms served by school board members expire on the first Monday of December in the final year of the term, PENNCREST School Board’s past president wasn’t quite ready to give up his seat.

Tuesday night, Luigi DeFrancesco took his former place at the head of the board table and gaveled the annual reorganization meeting to order. DeFrancesco, whose name did not appear on the November ballot as a result of a failed primary race, was not among the four board members elected in November.

Following the selection of board member Trudy Whitman as temporary president to chair the meeting through the administration of oaths of office and the selection of a permanent president, DeFrancesco relinquished the gavel and took a seat in the audience.

When board members Gerry Deane, Mark Gerow, Fred McDermott and Mark Parker took their seats following their swearing-in ceremony, Deane’s was the only new face at the table. However, even though they had all been elected to serve four-year terms and all but Deane had competed in the November election as incumbents, all four had been participating in their first school board elections.

In the November 2009 election, the four available seats had been won by Chad Templin, Harry Hicks, Harold Shorts and DeFrancesco. During the course of the next four years, Templin, Shorts and Hicks would resign and be replaced by McDermott, Parker and Gerow.

Following the administration of the oaths of office by Ted Watts, the district’s attorney, a sharply-divided board elected Jason Bakus as president and Chris Kondzielski as vice president, both by 5-4 margins against Trudy Whitman, who was nominated for both offices.

Bakus received votes from McDermott, Parker, Kondzielski, Bakus and Tom Morgan; Whitman was supported by Deane, Gerow, Whitman and Carole Jones. Kondzielski’s nomination for vice president was supported by Morgan, Parker, Gerow, McDermott and Bakus.

After the board approved its meeting schedule for 2014, the meeting was adjourned.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at