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Board narrows school options

School board officials agree there should be only one high school.

School board officials agree there should be only one high school.

November 07, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg Area School District officials further narrowed the district's options Wednesday for the future of its secondary schools, but officials are still at least two months from a final decision.

The school board reached a consensus that there should be only one Chambersburg high school, but agreed it could have two separate buildings, most likely one for grades nine and 10 and one for grades 11 and 12. Under the plan there will also be two middle schools for students in grades six, seven and eight.

But board members differed over whether the two high school buildings should be on one campus at the current site in the borough or if the existing high school should house one set of grades with a new building somewhere else in the district for the other two grades.

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The discussion came during a special meeting of the Building and Grounds Committee. Chairman Stanley Helman directed Superintendent Ed Sponseller to come back in January with a recommendation on what scenario would work best.

The board agreed the existing configuration needs to go, and that there was not enough support for two separate high schools.

"I don't see support on the board or in the community. I've given up on that," said Helman, who has been a strong proponent of two high schools.

Board member Robert Helman refused to waver on his support of two high schools, however.

"This school district is too big geographically for one high school," he said, and did not back the 9-10 and 11-12 concept.

Board member Tom Orndorf said he believed the grades should not be separated by miles because he felt it would limit the course offerings for some students.

Board members were anxious to make some headway in the discussion that has been going on for two years.

"I think it's about time to decide if we're going to have more than one high school that hands out Chambersburg diplomas," President Eugene Gayman said. "Once that decision is made we can talk about location."

Also during the meeting, the Board of School Directors agreed on a framework for future elementary school size and construction.

Members reached the consensus that future elementary schools should ideally be three-deep, meaning they could accommodate three classes of each grade level.

The board acknowledged, however, that size might not fit every situation.

They also backed a proposal by Assistant Superintendent Jim Taylor outlining possible elementary school construction and renovation.

Tops on his list is at least one new school in the borough to combine Gordy, King Street and Sharpe elementary schools, possibly leading to the closing of Coldbrook Elementary School.

Taylor's plan also suggests:

  • Consolidating Fayetteville and Duffield elementary schools into a new or renovated school.

  • Consolidating New Franklin and Marion elementary schools into a new or renovated school.

  • Consolidating Letterkenny and Lurgan elementary schools and closing Letterkenny.

  • Upgrading the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at Guilford Hills Elementary School.

  • Renovating Grandview Elementary School.
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