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Transparency Issues Mar Appointment of William Formica to Souderton Area School Board

The new school board member’s blatant display of Three Percenter anti-government militia insignias have also raised concerns in the community.

A board of directors vacancy for the Souderton Area School District was filled by appointment last Thursday during a special board action meeting.

William Formica of Harleysville was appointed to fill the seat vacated by State Representative Donna Scheuren (R-147), who announced her resignation following the municipal primary in May. Formica, a Republican, is currently running for the school board and secured enough votes in the May primary to appear on the November ballot. Scheuren was first elected to the school board in 2011 and her current term would have expired this year. During Scheuren’s run for the state house, Formica was the treasurer for her political action committee, Friends of Donna Scheuren.

Board President Ken Keith started the meeting with the bang of a gavel and immediately made a motion to appoint Formica, but was quickly reminded that he had skipped the Pledge of Allegiance. Following the Pledge, public comment began.

“I spoke after Mrs. Scheuren resigned and I asked the board to explain the process they would follow in filling the seat,” said Rosemary Buetikofer, a retired teacher and candidate in this year’s election for the Souderton school board.

Buetikofer, a Democrat, expressed disappointment saying that no candidates running on the Souderton Area For Responsible Leadership slate had been contacted. “I did not expect to be appointed tonight, but I expected the courtesy of due consideration,” she said.

“For what it’s worth, I would be absolutely prohibited, and will the solicitor please correct me if I’m wrong…if I were to call you and ask you questions about it. It would not be a legal act,” President Keith said.

“You’re presuming, of course, that the board’s proposed action has been decided already and that’s not the case,” said Jeffrey Sultanik, the board’s solicitor.

During public comment Dan DeMeno mentioned that previously, when appointments were made, there were applications taken and interviews held at public meetings.

“I have an issue with the person who’s being nominated for this,” DeMeno added. “He’s very clear on Facebook that he supports far-right positions and I don’t necessarily think that’s the person I want educating my kids.”

Board member Brong said that he has been on the board for 18 years and during that time has seen five appointees and several different methods utilized for appointing members.

“As a board member I took it upon myself and know everybody who is running,” Brong said. “So I will cast my vote tonight by me having done the homework of reading who I think is the best person for the job. You don’t necessarily have to do an interview.”

Brong also said he looked at the results of the May primary election and which candidate secured the most votes. “Let the voters have some say in what we’re doing tonight,” he said.

Voting statistics from Montgomery County reveal only an approximate 31 percent of the electorate in the Souderton Area School District cast a ballot in the May primary.

“Every one of the candidates has had their little bio, the reason as to why they’re running and what they want to do or how they want to impact the school district, in the paper,” said board member Nicholas Braccio. “Every single person has seen that … and that’s how I based my decision.”

In the Bucks County Herald, The Reporter and even the Keep Souderton Strong website, Formica has prioritized keeping taxes low first, mentioning education concerns secondarily.

The motion to appoint Formica was seconded by Brong and passed unanimously.

It is unknown if or when the board interviewed or talked with Formica who was in the audience, with his wife, prior to being sworn in.

Numerous posts on social media have highlighted Formica’s political ideology, including photographs of the “Let’s Go Brandon” sign outside his office, the Three Percenter anti-government militia movement insignia on two different vehicles, and the ‘AR15 LVR’ license plate on his truck.

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Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens is a freelance journalist who has written for a variety of publications, including The Reporter. An avid collector of all things vintage, she resides in the Philadelphia area.

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