Schmotzer Back on Board
The Baldwin-Whitehall School Board chose a familiar face on Wednesday night as its newest member—Martin Michael Schmotzer of Whitehall Borough.
Schmotzer, whose term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives ended on Nov. 30, replaces his brother, John B. Schmotzer, who resigned from the school board in November for personal reasons.
The board voted, 5-3, to select Martin Schmotzer after board Second Vice President Diana Kazour motioned to appoint him. First Vice President Kevin J. Fischer seconded that motion.
Board members Larry Pantuso, Nancy Lee Crowder and Tracy Macek cast the "no" votes, but they weren't enough to offset "yes" votes from board President Nancy Sciulli DiNardo and fellow board members Ray Rosing, George L. Pry, Kazour and Fischer.
Martin Schmotzer has been a publicly elected B-W School Board member in the past and was most recently on the board in 2011.
There were nine total applicants for the school board vacancy, Sciulli DiNardo said before asking for nominations.
Crowder nominated Karen Brown for the position, and Macek nominated Richard J. Kirsch.
Brown failed to earn the appointment by receiving only one "yes" vote—from Crowder.
Voting for Kirsch never happened, as Martin Schmotzer received the necessary five votes before that came to pass.
(SEE: All 9 Names in Running for B-W Board Vacancy)
Sciulli DiNardo-Crowder Exchange
Before nominating Brown for the vacancy, Crowder attempted to describe that woman's qualifications, but she was eventually cut off by Sciulli DiNardo.
"I have reviewed each and every application as instructed to do so," Crowder said. "When there's an open seat on the board, it allows this board to pick a person who might not even consider running in an election. It should not be about appointing our friends; it should be about appointing the best person for the job.
"However, with that being said, there are people that applied that have been on this board or ran in previous elections. And I appreciate that, because sitting on this board is a thankless job at times. Running in campaigns is another one.
"You please some of the people some of the time, but you will never please all of the people all of the time.
"I only know this candidate (Brown) from reading her application and résumé. She is and has been an educator for many years. I think with all of her experience in the field of education ... "
At that point, Sciulli DiNardo interrupted.
"Mrs. Crowder, do you have a nomination?" she asked.
"Yes, I'm getting there," Crowder responded.
"OK, can you get there?" Sciulli DiNardo asked.
"But I'd like you to know why I'm nominating her," Crowder said.
"It's really not necessary," Sciulli DiNardo said. "Make a nomination. Have somebody second it, and we'll (something, inaudible)."
"Alright, I nominate Karen Brown," Crowder said.
(Nancy Crowder Finishes School Board Statement)
Shouting Match, Name-Calling
Before Martin Schmotzer swore in to his new post, who was in attendance at Wednesday's board meeting, stormed out of the meeting room.
Kalwarski said, "You're sick my ass" on her way out of the room. (Martin Schmotzer said in March 2011 that he was suffering from two forms of cancer.)
Sciulli DiNardo responded, saying, "Mrs. Kalwarski, you're not gonna be welcome here anymore using that vulgarity."
Kalwarski responded, "Excuse me; I'm a taxpayer and ... " before Sciulli DiNardo shouted over her.
"I don't care who you are," Sciulli DiNardo said. "This is a board room, and you'll conduct yourself as a lady.
"You're out of order."
Responded Kalwarski, "No, you are. You're a joke."
Martin Schmotzer then said "white trash" as he walked across the front of the room. His comment was loud enough for the student board representatives section and the first two rows of the audience to hear it.
Closing Comments from Sciulli DiNardo
Sciulli DiNardo used board member comments time on Wednesday to speak of her duties as board President, a position that she took on Dec. 5.
"This is my first time running a voting meeting," she said, "so I apologize if I seem a little nervous and a little bit naïve and not so knowledgeable about how it's different sitting in this seat. And I've also lost a lot of my voice sitting here.
"But I am gonna tell you this: My focus has always been, when I came on this board, educating these kids and doing what's right for children and for taxpayers.
"We will debate on this board, we will be angry at each other on this board, and we are adult enough to leave here and respect one another as individuals.
"What I will not allow this room to turn into is a circus. You wanna not like me? That's fine. You wanna not like anybody on this board? That's fine, too. You don't wanna like the administrators we hire. That's your prerogative, as well.
"You will not come in this room, though—you will not take a mic—(and) you will not insult any of these board members. You will not insult our employees. You're not gonna do it.
"I apologize for what happened earlier in this meeting (shouting match), but I will not apologize for keeping order and trying to keep order. And I'm not gonna have any one of these board members disrespected.
"We are not into torture, and sometimes, we are tortured sitting up here. So, I'm not gonna have it.
"And I have children in this room. They're children. And I'm not gonna have an adult swearing at me or anybody else here. So, I hope that, everybody, we can be respectful here. We can agree to disagree. That's fine.
"But we have to be adults, and we have to be examples."
Interview with Schmotzer
After Wednesday's meeting adjourned, Martin Schmotzer was asked about his motivation for coming back to the school board.
"Just to serve," he said. "I was surprised there was an opening. I did not seek it originally. I was called by a number of board members to apply, and I really thought and prayed about it very long. I applied on the last day.
"But I'm willing to commit the year. I see the inexperience of the board. I know the issues facing the children and the taxpayers, and I think all my experiences, especially the last eight months up at the state House, is a great experience to come back and serve on a local school board."
Read through other Baldwin-Whitehall School Board items here.
And check back with the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch on Thursday for more news from Wednesday night's school board meeting.
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