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PURCHASE LINE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Five seek seat on school board

by SAM KUSIC skusic@indianagazette.net on October 02, 2012 11:00 AM

PURCHASE LINE -- Purchase Line school board is considering five applicants for an appointment to the board.

They are:

  • Sandra Fyock, of Green Township. She is a retired preschool teacher and a 1973 Purchase Line graduate.
  • Curtis Harbrige, 39, of Montgomery Township. Harbrige is the co-owner and president of H&H Electrical Service Center.  
  • Joshua Hopkins, 31, of Green Township. Hopkins is a health care specialist for Astellas Pharmaceuticals. 
  • Jack Jahoda, 70, of Green Township. Jahoda is a former Purchase Line school board president and former director of the Indiana County Technology Center.
  • Eugene T. Scott, 52, of Green Township. Scott is the owner of Gene Scott Construction.

The five are vying for a seat vacated last month by former President Matt Pearce, who stepped down to focus on his studies and a job search. They had a chance to state their case for the appointment during a series of brief interviews at a meeting Monday.

Harbrige, who holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial manufacturing systems engineering, said that if appointed he would like to help develop some short- and long-term goals for the district and see that it remains fiscally responsible and accountable to district residents.  

Hopkins said he believes Purchase Line needs to work on changing its culture, such that a sense of pride in being a part of the district is re-instilled among residents. He also said he’d like the district to be more effective in its communications with parents.

Jahoda, who also owns Jack Jahoda Electric, said board members ought to serve the best interests of the students while maintaining a reasonable tax rate for the community. He said he believes a board member’s job is to set policy, not to operate the schools. That, he said, is up to the administrative team.

Scott said he would take a common-sense approach to the district’s governance, listening to all opinions and considering all information and using his experience as a guide in making decisions.

Fyock said she worries that teaching to standardized tests is having a negative effect on students. She also said she would be careful to weigh all thoughts in making decisions as very few good decisions are made based on a single perspective.

Though board members could have, they declined to make a decision Monday night, instead agreeing to give themselves a week to consider each of the applicants. The appointment will last until the end of next year. In the meantime, residents will have to vote for someone to fill the remainder of Pearce’s term through next year’s election. 

They decided not to wait for the installation of the board member to name a new president and vice president. The board unanimously named Vice President Mary Ann Pittman as president. Replacing her as vice president is Jim Stiffler. 

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