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Vo-tech back in Fulton County

June 18, 1998|By DON AINES

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - Fulton County's Vocational-Technical Program is back in business after the Southern Fulton District reversed itself and voted in favor of continuing the program.

"We revisited the issue and we thought that the best thing to do was pass the budget" for the program, Southern Fulton Superintendent Carolyn Shegelski said Thursday.

Approval by the board in her district and the Forbes Road School District means the countywide program will continue, she said.

"It's my understanding there are enough votes to pass it," Central Fulton School Board Member N. Parker Knepper said. When his board voted down the program, he said, "I was the only 'yes' vote."

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Knepper said about 80 percent of the students at Central Fulton High School are enrolled in a vo-tech course.

"I think we've done an excellent job of serving the community ... I've seen some of the accomplishments of the students," said Knepper, who's been on the vo-tech board since it was created.

On May 28, the nine-member vo-tech board voted to end the agreement that ran the program through the three school districts for the past decade.

Shegelski said her district's board voted May 19 to end the agreement.

She said, however, the board kept its contribution to the vo-tech budget in the tentative budget for the 1998-99 school year. The board's decision last week to support a countywide program "makes it legal," she said.

Unlike many counties, Fulton does not have a vo-tech school. Instead, the districts offer business, agricultural science and cooperative education programs at their respective high schools.

Central and Southern also offer courses in child care, welding, drafting and health care, said Shegelski.

Students in the building and trades course travel to Southern Fulton, where a project house is under construction.

Students from Forbes Road travel to other districts if they want courses not offered by their district. Most of them travel to Central Fulton.

Even without an agreement, Shegelski said the districts would have offered vo-tech courses at their own schools.

Central Fulton has more than 200 students in the program and would contribute about $41,000 to the program next year. With 160 students enrolled, Southern Fulton would contribute $76,000.

Forbes Road, the smallest district with about 60 vo-tech students, would pay $54,000 in 1998-99.

State subsidies for vocational-technical programs vary from district to district depending on the number and percentage of students enrolled.

While the votes are there to continue the program, Knepper said the issue will be discussed at a vo-tech board meeting June 25.

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