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No candidate for open seat on Pine-Richland school board

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

No one has stepped up to run for an open spot on the Pine-Richland school board, which could lead to the third appointment of a school director in two years.

Stephen Hawbaker, a Richland accountant, decided not to run for re-election after 12 years on the board.

His term will expire at the end of December.

Hawbaker said he was surprised no one had stepped up to run and speculated that some residents might not know there is an opening.

If no one is written in during the general election Nov. 5 or a write-in winner declines the post, the school board will have to appoint a replacement for Region 3.

Katie Shogan and Marc Casciani, both of Pine, were appointed in 2012 to fill seats vacated when Kevin Nigh and Rich Herko resigned.

“I think the election process is the best way to have the community represented in the most democratic way,” Hawbaker said. “However, I have always been impressed with the quality and intelligence of the people who have stepped up to volunteer even through the interview process that we have followed over the past few years.”

Dr. Jeff Banyas, a Pine physician, had stated in April that he did not intend to run for re-election for his school director position in Region 2 of Pine-Richland. He had not filled out the necessary paperwork to enter the May 21 primary, and his term is set to expire in December.

Banyas, an ear, nose and throat specialist, said in April that he found it difficult to juggle his life as a solo, medical practitioner with the time commitment of serving on the school board.

“I wanted to see if anyone else had the desire to step up and run for the position, but no one did,” he said.

However, Banyas had a change of heart after seeing residents' reaction to his announcement not to seek re-election. He said many people asked him if he would stay on the board, and he got enough write-in votes in the primary election to be put on the general election ballot.

“I felt honored that so many felt this way and decided to keep my name on the ballot,” Banyas said.

“This is a critical, but exciting time for our district, as our new superintendent takes the reins after a difficult year of transition. As I participated in his hire, I remain committed to his success and to the success of our district and the fiscal health of our community.”

Shogan, Casciani and school director Dennis Sundo also are running unopposed in the Nov. 5 election in their respective regions.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or

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