Kay Hollabaugh elected to Upper Adams School Board after Mikel Grimm resigns

Upper Adams School Board in a 5-3 vote appointed Kay Hollabaugh to the board after Mikel Grimm recently resigned.

Grimm left due to “personal conflicts,” effective Feb. 23, Board President Jim Lady said. The board accepted her resignation at its March 7 meeting. 

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The board had elected Grimm in April 2022 to fill the vacancy left by the death of Bruce Hollabaugh.

Kay Hollabaugh, Jessica Jackson, Kasey Keene, and Tricia Plank applied to fill Grimm’s seat. Hollabaugh and Plank were present for Tuesday’s meeting and interviewed by board members.

Before her interview, Plank accused the board of making its decision prior to Tuesday evening. She alleged board member Cindy Janczyk told her the board would elect Kay Hollabaugh.

“What I didn’t expect was to be told prior to this meeting that the decision had already been made, and that you already knew who you were going to seat,” Plank said.

Janczyk denied this.

“You misinterpreted what I said,” Janczyk said Tuesday.

Plank called the process “disingenuous.” 

“My issue is not with Kay Hollabaugh,” Plank said. “My issue is with the process.”

In an email sent to Gettysburg Connection on Friday, Janczyk wrote: “In a prior conversation with Mrs. Plank I shared my thoughts that the Board would probably lean toward Mrs. Hollabaugh, given her merit and widespread community engagement. I was not speaking for the Board, but I believe Mrs. Plank misinterpreted the conversation.”

Upon hearing Plank’s accusations Tuesday evening, board members quickly spoke up to say they had no prior conversations about which candidate they’d select.

The board then proceeded with Plank’s interview for the seat.

Plank said she has been a tax accountant for 22 years and has two children in the district. She served as president and vice president of the Biglerville Elementary PTO.

Plank expressed concern about low math scores in the district. She also said she is interested in learning why some students leave to enroll in cyber or charter schools.

In Hollabaugh’s interview, she said she has been interested in serving on the board for 30 years. Her husband, Brad, and son Bruce both served on the school board. She is also a grandparent of children in the district. 

Hollabaugh feels she has the time now to serve the district in this capacity.

Hollabaugh said she could bring her business skills to the board, with experience as an owner of Hollabaugh Bros., Inc. 

She has close ties to Latino families through her business, she said, and wants to be an “advocate” for that community.

“I don’t want them to get lost,” Hollabaugh said, adding that students’ needs vary.

“I think it’s essential that we meet all students where they are,” she said.

After the interviews, board member Ron Ebbert nominated Kay Hollabaugh to serve on the school board.

Janczyk nominated Tricia Plank.

Board members Susan Crouse, Chris Fee, James Rutkowski, Tom Wilson, and Ebbert voted for Hollabaugh.

Board members Gerald Walmer, Janczyk, and Lady voted for Plank.

Hollabaugh was immediately sworn in and took a seat at the table with her fellow board members. She will serve through the remainder of 2023.

Plank said she plans to run for school board. The primary election is May 16.

In other business, the board voted to purchase 1,005 iPads and related materials, such as chargers and cases, for approximately $813,000. The iPads will support students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

The board will have curriculum, extra-curricular, and business and operations committee meetings April 4 at 6:30 p.m. A policy committee meeting will be held April 6 at 9 a.m. The next regular board meeting will be April 18 at 7 p.m.

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Mary Grace Kauffman, freelance reporter, worked six years as a full-time reporter for newspapers in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She has covered topics including business, crime, education, government and features. Mary Grace has a bachelor's degree in communication/journalism from Shippensburg University. She resides in Adams County.

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