The two new members of the Eastern York school board hope their strong ties to the community will help them advocate for financially responsible upgrades across the district.

Alan Vican and Jon Shevelew, both of Lower Windsor, were appointed last month to fill the board's two open seats through the November municipal elections. Both enter the positions with previous ties to the district — Vican taught American government and drivers education at Eastern York High School before retiring last year, and Shevelew runs the Young Knights youth organization, a feeder for Eastern's football teams.

School board president Robert Flaharty Jr. said they were selected from five applicants based on answers to a standardized set of questions. Both decisions were unanimous, he said.

"It's a whole lot of money and a whole lot of responsibility," Flaharty said of serving on the school board. "Board members have to look to the entire community; they have to look the whole nine yards."

The vacancies: The seats had been unoccupied since Leslie Currier resigned in February. At the same meeting, Lorine Kellner's seat was vacated due to repeated absence.

Flaharty noted they are joining the board amid ongoing research on how to upgrade the district's multiple 50-year-old buildings, and conversations over whether it would be better to simply start from scratch.

Vican and Shevelew both expressed confidence that they will have time to dedicate to their seats and to making sure that they are caught up with the material.

Their background: Vican said after nine months of retirement, during which he has continued to volunteer with the district, he thought he could add something more substantive to his plate. His children attended Eastern and his wife teaches at Canadochly Elementary, though she is planning to retire, he said.

"I don't have an agenda," Vican said. "For any district or organization to run smoothly, you need people who are willing to do the job, who respect the process and respect each other in the process. It's a big operation, a $44 million budget ... and people have to be there to make it work."

A former mayor: Shevelew, who was the mayor of Shamong, N.J., before moving to the area, does part-time consulting for startups through his company, Asl Group. He said part of being mayor was developing school budgets with school boards, giving him experience balancing responsibility to students with taxpayer interests.

"The funding of education is a major issue you end up pitting the people of a community against a school system," Shevelew said.

His proposed solution is to get community involved in ways that not only build camaraderie, but save money and resources as well. He said when he was mayor, the town built a rec center primarily through volunteer task forces, rather than contracting the work out.

"We built baseball fields with farmers coming out with their tractors," Shevelew said. "You'd have 50 volunteers out there with lumber and trucks getting things done. And the community out there is roughly the same size as the one I live in now."

Vican and Shevelew will hold their seats through December, when the positions will be doled out to the winners of the municipal elections. Vican said he will not be running, while Shevelew has already committed to it.

"I kind of promised my wife I wasn't going to get into any political drama," Shevelew said, "but this is about doing what's right for the kids, so she's alright with that."

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