Election changes balance as new members come on board in Peters schools

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Peters school board members on Monday thanked several outgoing board members and informally welcomed new members to the board.

Board directors David Hvizdos, Lori Cuervo and Cynthia Golembiewski were recognized for their years of service. Each lost a re-election bid this year.

Mr. Hvizdos, who has been on the board since 2004, thanked the community for its support and said his time on the board was "sometimes challenging, sometimes rewarding. ... But it certainly was something I'll never forget."

Ms. Golembiewski was absent, and Ms. Cuervo said she appreciated support from residents who voted for her. Ms. Cuervo lost her bid for a second term, while Ms. Golembiewski was seeking a third term in office and is the current board president.

Two of three new board members attended the meeting as audience members and said they were looking forward to the challenge. The new members, Lisa Anderson, Rebecca Bowman and the Rev. Jamison Hardy, will be sworn in at a Dec. 3 board meeting.

Rev. Hardy, a pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Peters, said he's excited to "bring to bear the experience I have."

"I'm very happy and very thankful that the community has entrusted me," Rev. Hardy said, adding that one of his goals would be more transparency between the board and the public. He said he wanted to lift the "cloud of secrecy" that he said surrounds the board at times.

Rev. Hardy moved to Peters in 2000 with his wife, Wendy, and has three children in the district.

Ms. Anderson, a lawyer, has two children in district schools and moved to Peters in 1999 with her husband, Steve.

Unlike the other newcomers, Ms. Anderson has been very active in the schools, volunteering at several schools and attending monthly board meetings.

"I'm looking forward to everything," she said Monday. "I've really been involved with this district."

The board will have more than just new faces in December.

The new members are ex-pected to shake up warring factions; and this year's elections have eliminated all but one of them.

A group of like-minded board members, including Mr. Hvizdos, Ms. Cuervo and Ms. Golembiewski, was decimated in the primary and general elections and replaced with new members.

How things will change is yet unclear, but the new board is expected to begin exercising its control at a Dec. 16 finance meeting, where members will begin considering whether to raise property taxes next year.

District business manager Vince Belczyk said it will be up to the board to decide what steps it wants to take next year.

"We're just looking at everything right now," he said. "We don't have any idea about retirements and other issues yet."

Janice Crompton: jcrompton@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1159.

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