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South Hills

Longtime Baldwin-Whitehall board member won't run for re-election

| Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Martin Schmotzer
Martin Schmotzer

In the Baldwin-Whitehall School District board room, plaques hang on the wall to recognize all those who have been elected to serve as school directors.

Member Martin Michael Schmotzer's nameplate includes the years 1987-1993 and 2007-2017.

“Three years ago I asked them to put 2017 on,” Schmotzer said. “I will honor that date.”

Schmotzer announced at the Feb. 8 meeting he will “absolutely not be running for re-election.”

“I served long enough. I'm extremely grateful to the people. Five times I put my name on the ballot and five times I was elected.”

Schmotzer's term expires at the end of the year. Other board members whose terms are ending are board President Karen Brown and members Elliot Rambo and David Solenday.

At the past two meetings, Schmotzer has offered information about how to run for local office, including school board.

“It's important to serve your community,” he said. “I've served long enough.”

He said his focus was on the children and the budget.

“In many aspects, I have been a positive and valuable member of the board,” Schmotzer said. “There's a part of me that is sorry I committed another four years in 2013. It's not been an enjoyable experience.”

Schmotzer has been in the minority in several votes, including budget-related items and the varsity coaching decisions for the baseball and tennis programs.

He said his enthusiasm has been renewed with the cafeteria fund. Last school year, officials learned not every child was receiving a meal because of negative balances in their meal accounts.

Schmotzer created a cafeteria fund where public donations would be used to cover the negative balances of students who are determined to be in need of financial assistance. With the help of guidance counselors and social workers, officials were able to identify 78 students who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program and did not apply.

The cafeteria fund has $5,000 in donations. The board also revised the meal account policy to reflect the practices now in place.

Schmotzer said he made the announcement so residents know there will be an open seat on the board.

“This is not my seat; it's the community's seat.”

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5805 or jspezialetti@tribweb.com.

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