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Chester County Press

Election will yield changes on Oxford School Board

10/31/2013 12:59PM ● By Acl

By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

When the Oxford School Board convenes for its reorganization meeting on Thursday, Dec. 5, one thing is already certain: there will be plenty of new faces on the board.

Two current board members, Joe Scheese and Christine Peabody, opted not to seek reelection and a third, Dominic Pirocchi didn’t advance beyond the Primary election so there will be three newcomers joining the board.

As a result of a Chester County Court of Common Pleas ruling on Nov. 19, 2012, the district will have, for the first time, a combination of three at-large and six regional seats. The first at-large seat is up-for-grabs in the Nov. 5 election with Joe Starcheski unopposed for the seat after his win in the Primary election.

Lorraine Durnan Bell is the lone candidate on the ballot for the Region I seat that represents Upper Oxford Township, Lower Oxford’s East Precinct, and Oxford Borough’s East Precinct.

In Region II, which includes Oxford Borough’s West Precinct, Lower Oxford’s West Precinct, and West Nottingham Township, Steve Gaspar appears to be in a strong position to win a full four-year term on the board.

Gaspar is an engineer and project manager who has lived in the district for 16 years. He was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in April of 2012. During his brief time on the board, the school directors conducted a superintendent search, hired a new high school principal, and filled several other administrative vacancies.

“It’s a little bit of a new start for Oxford,” Gaspar said of all the new arrivals to the district.

Gaspar is the only school board member whose term expires in 2013 who is on the ballot on Nov. 5.

“It’s been a good experience serving on the board,” he said. “There are things that I would like to finish.”

The Region III seat, which includes East Nottingham Township and Elk Township, is a contest between Republican nominee Rich Orpneck and Democratic nominee Shannon Wells., Orpneck identified his occupation as retired business manager who earned a B.S. in chemistry from University of Pittsburgh. His priority is to “balance the budget and limit impact to taxpayers, to ensure oversight for all school expenditures and programs, and to provide the quality education students deserve.”

Wells is a production manager who graduated from Pennsbury High School. He is a former chairperson of the East Nottingham Township Planning Commission. His priorities, according, include ensuring that the district’s Budget Committee maintains the level of excellence displayed this budget year; enhancing security procedures throughout the district, and partnering with the new superintendent.