Five Seek Seats On So. Fulton School Board
Two incumbents, one former board director and two political newcomers hailing from southern Fulton County have crossfiled on the Republican and Democratic May 19 municipal primary election ballots in hopes of clinching at least one party nomination that could ultimately lead to being sworn into office this December as a member of the Southern Fulton School Board.
Among those vying for one of the four available director's seats are incumbents Patrick L. Bard and Edgar M. Yates; former board director L. Allen Morton; and new challengers Mark. R. Mosemann and Timothy L. Hull. Each party will nominate a total of four individuals this spring for final consideration by registered voters this November.
Patrick. L. Bard
Currently in his first four-year term of office, Patrick L. Bard is seeking re-election to secure his director's seat on the Southern Fulton School Board. Bard, who works as a building inspector as well as an equine dentist, reported his employment in various fields as well as involvement with different businesses make him a valued asset to the ninemember board.
"I have a desire to see our children succeed in the future whether it be in college, a trade school, in the work force or the arts," said Bard. During his time
with the board, Bard has helped with the creation of the district's nature trail located at the elementary school; the Diploma Recovery program that helps adult district residents obtain their actual high school diploma instead of a general equivalence diploma; and the district's soccer and cross-country programs.
Looking at the duties of a board member, Bard stated, perhaps the greatest role is balancing what is fiscally or financially affordable for the community against students receiving the best possible education. Bard added students should also be provided with the best options to succeed in the world today and tomorrow.
With the topic of school district consolidation being one of more heated and heavily debated topics in recent months between school board directors, school faculty and the community, both pros and cons exist in the way the proposal has been presented to date. County schools, according to Bard, could be split up and linked with districts in Bedford, Huntingdon and Franklin counties with minimal advantages to our schools.
"Schools that have been fiscally responsible will be burdened with debts of other districts ... Enrollment in the larger consolidated schools may be small enough that very little will be offered locally without travelling to other counties," he concluded.
L. Allen Morton
With four children now enrolled in the same school district he graduated from 25 years ago, L. Allen Morton still feels he has his fingers on the pulse of the Southern Fulton School District. Having already accumulated 12 years experience with the board, Morton stepped down from his position approximately two years ago.
"I still have an interest and a desire to serve," Morton told the "News." "While serving on the school board in the past, I feel I have always kept the best interest of the students and the taxpayers as the number one priority."
Looking ahead to the future, Morton, who owns and operates T&A Farms of Needmore, stated the administration and board need to continue to be "fiscally conservative" while still providing the students with the highest level of education.
Considering the possibility of consolidation, Morton stated, without yet knowing all of the details he doesn't have a position on the matter at this time. He did add, though, that each of the county's school districts have their own identity and provide adequate education.
"However, there are many areas we can operate together," Morton said. Mark R. Mosemann
After having had a part in saving the agricultural program at the Central Fulton School District, members of the southern Fulton County community began emerging with suggestions on Mark R. Mosemann working for their own school district in the capacity of board director. Mosemann took their ideas to heart and, backed by his time with the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School as a member of the Occupational Advisory Board and Local Advisory Committee, is now one of the five interested candidates battling for four positions on the board.
Mosemann said his diverse background includes experience in leadership, vision and financial know-how, which was gained in part during his time as general manager at Misty Mountain Dairy in Warfordsburg. "I feel one must look at the current situation as well as what the future may bring. Decisions made by the school board today can affect the viability of the school district and the students it has educated well into the future," he stated. "I am a partner in a large agricultural business and correctly managing money, budgets and financial statements is a daily activity that affects our long-term success."
If elected, Mosemann noted, he would work to ensure the education provided at Southern Fulton prepares youths for the future while doing so in a "financially and ethically responsible manner."
Mosemann, a father of three children ranging between two months in age and seven, concluded he remains opposed to Gov. Ed Rendell's current proposal for school district consolidation due to the lack of public input on actual implementation; lack of significant financial savings; increased transportation times for students; and larger class sizes.
"However, I feel there may be areas we can increase efficiency and extend our money within Fulton County's three districts, such as sharing resources and equipment. Scheduling courses is often a challenge in small districts, but with all three districts working together, perhaps we could achieve an expanded program on a more limited basis where transportation can be managed in a more timely fashion," said Mosemann. "The place to save money with consolidation is by reducing state and federal bureaucracy in the education system. The system gets more complex each year and the amount of time and paperwork required is increasing at an exponential rate."
Edgar M. Yates
One could say Edgar M. Yates has been a fixture with the Southern Fulton School Board since the early 1990s. Since 1991, Yates has been attending meetings as a concerned member of the public, asking questions and keeping tabs on district spending and policies, and in 2006 joined the board for his first fouryear term of office.
Seeking re-election, Yates, who logged 23 years with the U.S. Army military police and 22 years as a federal government security specialist supervisor, stated he displays both common sense and leadership values that are integral attributes for any candidate seeking office as well as a desire to remain open and available to the general public.
"I operate openly as a board member with trust and integrity in a professional manner, treating everyone with civility and respect," said Yates.
Looking back at the last four years, Yates stated that he has given his total support to the professional teaching staff while remaining open to communicating with the local citizens on ongoing issues and, in general, has enjoyed monitoring overall school operations. Down the road, though, the Needmore resident said he would like to see a reorganization of staff in the area of administration; better and more direct communications with the local community, including senior citizens; and quality education for the children, including special education programming.
In terms of possible improvements or savings through consolidation, Yates stated, he is agreeance with the idea of consolidation to a "certain point." "Administrative costs would be cut in half. Maintenance costs would be cut in half. Contractual costs would be cut in half, and even monies spent on tax collection would be saved," he concluded. "One thing that would prevent me from agreeing with the consolidation would be the change of school district boundaries and district bond investments."
All election candidates have been provided with a mailed questionnaire for compilation by the "News" in anticipation of the May 19 election. The fifth and final candidate for the Southern Fulton School District's Board of Directors is Timothy L. Hull of 5830 Great Cove Road, Needmore. Information requested of Hull was not made available to the "News." He also could not be reached by telephone.