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Smeltzer loses seat on Armstrong School District board

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 2:31 a.m.

The Armstrong School District board of directors will look mostly the same during the upcoming term as it does now with one notable absence.

Incumbents Joseph Close, James T. Rearic and Linda Walker will each retain their seats while Timothy Scaife, current president of the Armstrong Educators Association, will join the board when it convenes in December.

Royce Smeltzer, who has served on the board since 1997, was not elected to a fifth term.

Each of the candidates cross-filed with both parties, which means the unofficial results of Tuesday evening's primary election essentially decided the outcome of November's general election.

It was a close race in Region I, where incumbent Rearic received 1,285 votes to defeat challenger Douglas L. Smith, who received 1,178 votes. Rearic of West Kittanning, has served on the board since 2007 and will continue representing Region I, which includes Bethel Township, Burrell Township, Cadogan, Ford City, Ford Cliff, Manor Township, Manorville, North Buffalo and West Kittanning.

In Region II, current board president Close of Worthington ran unopposed and received 2,044 votes to retain his seat on the board for another four years.

Region II includes Applewold, East Franklin, Kittanning, Rayburn, Washington Township, West Franklin and Worthington.

But the fiercest competition was in Region III where two challengers took on two incumbents for two seats on the board. Region III includes Atwood, Boggs, Cowanshannock, Dayton, Elderton, Kittanning Township, Pine Township, Plumcreek, Rural Valley, South Bend, Valley and Wayne.

Retired ASD English teacher Linda Walker of Wayne handily walked away with one of the seats on the strength of 1,330 votes. Walker was appointed to the board last year after the resignation of Sara Yassem and has since represented the board with the ARIN Intermediate Unit and Lenape Vocation School joint operating committee.

Scaife, a math teacher at West Shamokin Junior-Senior High School who will retire at the end of the year, took the second open seat in his first run for the school board with 938 votes. Scaife of Boggs Township, a teacher in the district for 14 years, also will step down from his position atop the Armstrong Educators Association before he joins the board at the end of the year.

Smeltzer of Plumcreek, who has served on the board for 15 years, received more than 200 votes fewer than Scaife with 729 for third place. Newcomer Adam P. Grafton of South Bend came in fourth with 508 votes.

Upon learning the results, both Scaife and Walker said the election served as proof that voters believe in the current direction of the board.

“It shows people are ready for decisions based on facts,” said Scaife. Walker agreed with the sentiment.

“I'm overwhelmed with the show of support,” she said. “Evidently, people are pleased with how things are going and they're ready to move forward.”

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or tkaran@tribweb.com.

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