Board members honored at SMASD meeting

Honor roll certificates were presented to members of the St. Marys Area School District board of directors in recognition of their service during Monday's meeting as part of a statewide effort on behalf of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association to acknowledge and honor school directors for their years of service. Certificates were presented to James Baumgratz, Joseph Goetz, John Mulcahy and Patricia Razmerski. "I know that working closely with these people, this community must be very proud not only of these four people, but of all these men and women sitting here, serving the community and representing their constituents in the best interest of the students," SMASD Superintendent Ann Kearney said. In his last meeting as a member of the board, outgoing SMASD Board President Joe Goetz was presented with a special plaque commemorating his eight years with the board, six of which he served as president. "On behalf of the entire SMASD employees, school board members, and this community, we bid you a fond farewell. You have been a dynamic force and a powerful advocate for public education," Kearney said. Kearney credited Goetz with helping to usher in academic and technological advancements within district schools, as well as capital improvements. "You have been instrumental in balancing difficult budgets, negotiating these contracts, supporting upgrades to the facilities, serving as mediator for tenuous topics," Kearney said. In accepting the honor, Goetz expressed gratitude for having had the opportunity given him by the community to participate in the education of area children. "It's for the children, that's what it's all about," Goetz said. Monday's meeting was also the occasion of the board's vote on the permitting of seismic testing on school district property in Bennetts Valley. During the visitor's comments portion of the meeting, area resident Michael Brock, in response to an article in Friday's edition of The Daily Press detailing a presentation by representatives from Elexco Land Services and EQT Productions to the board at last Thursday's workshop, questioned the board regarding the possibility of seismic testing at the Bennetts Valley Elementary school site. Brock asked if a quote appearing in the article, in which Kearney said that drilling would not be allowed on school property, was the board's position or Kearney's alone. "Mike, it's a very straightforward statement, as meant verbatim, however, the final decision will be from the board of directors at the time, with the information in front of them. Each of the board of directors represents people of the community and will be speaking for their representation. Mrs. Kearney's opinion is very highly regarded by each board member as a spokesperson, and to date we do not intend, we have no plans, no one has approached us to put a well on school property. What's going to happen in five years, two years from now, that's a board decision," Goetz said.