Education

The primary election results are in for Centre County school boards. Here’s who won

Seven candidates ran for five open seats on the Bellefonte Area Board of School Directors.
Seven candidates ran for five open seats on the Bellefonte Area Board of School Directors. Centre Daily Times, file

With all precincts reporting, the unofficial primary election results from the Centre County Elections and Voter Registration Office show mixed results for area school boards.

The newcomers won big in Bald Eagle Area and Penns Valley, while the incumbent running in each of those school districts fell short of re-election. With everyone cross-filing, all candidates will move on to the general election in Bellefonte and State College. In Philipsburg-Osceola, the incumbents all advanced.

Each board is made up of nine members, who run for four-year terms.

Here’s a breakdown of each race:

Bald Eagle Area

The Bald Eagle Area school board will look a bit different next year. Of the five board members up for re-election, only one — Richard Watters — ran in the primary. Watters, who ran only on the Republican ballot, lost his re-election bid (172 votes) in Region 3 to challengers Jason Penland (288) and Gary Heverly Jr. (222). Both Penland and Heverly will move on to the general election on the Democrat/Republican tickets.

In Region 2, Molly Pomeroy-Hoover and Danelle Bisel were the top two vote-getters on the Democrat ballot, beating out Adam Frank. Frank, however, punched his ticket to November by beating out Bisel for second on the Republican side. Running unopposed in Region I, Alesha Drapcho-Gavlock secured 98.48% of the Democratic vote and 99.55% of the Republican vote. There were just four total write-in votes in Drapcho-Gavlock’s region.

Bellefonte

All seven candidates — including four incumbents — are moving on to vie for five open seats on the Bellefonte Area school board this fall.

Incumbent Donna Smith led the voting on the Democratic side, with 1,020. She was followed by challenger Julie Fitzgerald with 1,006, incumbent Kimberly Hearn with 904, challenger Mark William Badger with 715 and board Vice President Robert Lumley-Sapanski with 712.

Incumbent Rob Pacella and Bellefonte Area High School senior Max Kroell punched their tickets to the general election on the Republican side. Pacella came in third in Republican voting with 1,159. Kroell was fifth with 1,113. Smith, Badger and Fitzgerald also advanced on the Republican side, with 1,280, 1,207 and 1,148 votes, respectively.

Penns Valley

In Penns Valley, there will be some new faces on the school board next year.

Incumbent B.T. Schwier fell short of re-election in Region I, losing 290 to 259 on the Republican and 158 to 143 on the Democrat ballots to challenger Jef Wall, the district’s former business manager.

Running unopposed, Domer Smeltzer Jr., Scott Butler, Ryan Martin and Barry Sands will be moving on for a chance to replace four outgoing at-large board members this fall.

Philipsburg-Osceola

In Philipsburg-Osceola, three incumbents will be moving on to the general election. In the lone contested race, Mel Curtis beat out challenger David Potter, 55 votes to 22, on the Republican ballot for District 1. Potter filed only as a Republican.

Todd Jeffries will be moving on in District 2, with 98.11% of the Democrat and 95.45% of the Republican votes, and Robert Miller in District 4 with 96.91% of both the Democrat and Republican votes.

State College

All six candidates will be moving on to the general election to compete for five open seats in State College. The five incumbents got the nod on the Democratic ballot, led by board President Amber Concepcion with 5,946 votes. She was followed by Amy Bader with 5,814, Gretchen Brandt with 5,655, Laurel Zydney with 5,442 and Daniel Duffy with 4,808. Challenger Todd Baney notched the most votes on the Republican ticket, with 2,706. Concepcion, Bader, Brandt and Duffy also advanced on the Republican ballot.

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