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Ternes to step down in 2001

December 06, 2000

Ternes to step down in 2001



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Robert J. Ternes, president of the Waynesboro Area School Board for the last five years, says streamlining the board's budgeting system, curriculum development and the expansion of technology in the seven-school system have been highlights of his tenure.

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Ternes' second four-year term on the board doesn't end until Dec. 31, 2001. He has, however, relinquished his president's seat to Lawrence Glenn.

Ternes, 54, reiterated Tuesday that he has never thought of serving on the board beyond the end of his current term. His two children went through the school system during his tenure and both have graduated, he said.

Ternes said he wanted to step down as president in his last year so he could be available to help his successor with the transition, something that he said would be easier to do as a board member.

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He was first elected to the board in 1992, and has been president since 1995.

The school board voted this week to appropriate $30,000 to bring Summitview Elementary on line. It's the district's last school to do so, Ternes said. The money to bring computers into the schools comes from the state, he said. "It's been a little slow coming."

A major change during his time at the helm was the introduction of block scheduling at Waynesboro Area Senior High School. Instead of a regular seven-class-a-day schedule, block scheduling reduces the number to four, 80-minute classes a day. Students also devote an entire semester to a single subject rather than spreading it out over the whole year.

The new system went into effect in September. It allows for more intensive study for each subject and makes for less down time between classes, Ternes said. It took a year for the teaching staff to get ready for the new system, he said.

Ternes said the board is less divisive now than it has been in the past and its members work better together.

"I take that as a personal accomplishment. As president I have to be in control. Any flare-ups I've had have come from trying to control meetings."

Concerning his failures as president, Ternes said they come from the fact that the board has been slow to spend money to keep up its school buildings. "It's going to cost more money now because of the resistance of the board to spend the money all those years," he said.

One example was the board's delay in appropriating money to modernize the light systems in some of its older buildings, he said. As a result, any savings realized by using new, energy-efficient systems have been lost, he said.

Currently, the board is considering spending more than $15 million to make minimal repairs and upgrades to its buildings, he said.

The board is also looking for a superintendent to replace Robert J. Mesaros who left the job in October.

The first round of applicants failed to produce an acceptable candidate, Ternes said.

"We're going to start another search in June. Hopefully the person will be on board in September," he said.

Herbert Phelps, a retired superintendent from another Pennsylvania school district, is filling in as interim superintendent.

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