School board candidates run unopposed

LEWISTOWN – Three of the five candidates running for Mifflin County School Board gave short speeches during the Measure the Candidates event held Tuesday night at Mifflin County High School.

Bob Hammond, John Knepp and Richard A. Smeltz, all running for four-year terms, presented their platforms and spoke about what they hope to accomplish on the board. An audience of about 75 people attended the event, sponsored by the Mifflin County Farm Bureau.

Hammond, the vice president of funding for J&P Trucking, said he believes in a small platform. He said he believes transparency is the key when it comes to the school board.

“I want to keep myself and the voters close,” Hammond said. “I also want to keep an open mind to what teachers and faculty have to say.”

Hammond said he would like

to keep teachers as counsel to

help keep the lines of communication open between the school

and parents.

Knepp is a graduate of the electrical program at the Mifflin-Juniata Career & Technology Center and currently serves on the advisory committee for the school’s electrical construction program. He said he is running because he feels a fresh perspective is needed on the board.

“I’m running for school board because I think we need some fresh points of view,” Knepp said. “I also think we need people who are going to question and learn before making any kind of decisions.”

Knepp said he would like to see improvements in communication throughout the district, construction projects, and also a sanction of the CTC programs.

“Not only would I like to see communication improvements,” Knepp said. “But I also want to see more use come out of the community tax dollars.”

Knepp said he knows he would have a lot to learn if elected, but if everyone would work together they can give the students the education they deserve.

Smeltz, the co-owner of Smeltz and Aumiller Real Estate, said he is ready to put in the time necessary for the school board.

“I tried running for school board many years ago, but due to family and work commitments I felt like it would not be the best time,” Smeltz said. “Since my youngest son graduated last year from Mifflin County High School, I feel like I now have the time to commit to the challenges.”

Smeltz has a platform similar to Hammond and Knepp, saying he believes the school board needs to be approachable and easily contacted. He also would like to encourage more community involvement.

“I have noted in neighboring school districts that they have citizen action committees,” Smeltz said. “I want people out there in the community spending time and adding their expertise in the schools, without having to serve four years.”

Smeltz also said he is not in favor of moving the CTC to a new location, but prefers to expand its programs and perhaps resume offering adult courses.

“There are people out there who want to work and are good workers, but need the skills,” Smeltz said.

Because the school board candidates are running uncontested, the event moderators opted not to present them with any questions from the public. The municipal election will be held on Nov. 5.