Board approves school improvement plan in Chambersburg

May 15, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A $12.7 million bond issue that will pay to replace Chambersburg Area Senior High School's aging heating system and upgrade technology there and at 11 elementary buildings was approved Wednesday by the Chambersburg Area School District Board of Directors.

About $9.8 million will go toward a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for the 47-year-old school, and the building's 80 classrooms will be wired and provided with new computer hardware, according to Eric Michael, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Michael laid out a plan to spend another $1,087,000 on the hardware, work he said was covered by the bond. Rewiring the school will cost another $626,000.


Each classroom will accommodate up to eight computers and computer labs could have up to 32, he said. Internet accessibility would be available in all rooms, along with the capability to send and receive video.

Michael also outlined similar improvements for the library, plans for language and music technology labs, a television studio and teachers provided with wireless laptop computers.

When the district's building and grounds committee met last month, Board President Stanley J. Helman predicted the changes would make CASHS "the most technologically advanced high school in Pennsylvania."

The board also awarded contracts for a video security system at the school and asbestos abatement. All of the work at the high school is scheduled to be completed during the next two summers.

The board also authorized the administration to solicit quotes for installing new wiring and computers at 11 of the district's 18 elementary schools. Seven of the schools already have new systems, according to Michael.

The cost is about $800,000, not including $400,000 in software, which Michael said a local corporation has offered to donate.

The elementary schools that will be upgraded are Grandview, Letterkenny, Lurgan, Sharpe, Duffield, Guilford Hills, Marion, South Hamilton, Fayetteville, New Franklin and Gordy.

Principal hurt in scuffle

Faust Junior High School Principal Rick Keller underwent surgery Wednesday for a knee injury and two students were facing possible expulsion as a result of two altercations two weeks ago in the school's cafeteria, Chambersburg Area School District administration officials told the school board Wednesday night.

Those events are believed to have led to rumors of an after school fight that was headed off by district officials and police last Thursday, and an Internet chat room rumor that one or more students were going to bring guns to the school Monday.

Assistant Superintendent Ted Rabold said both the cafeteria disruptions were racially motivated.

At the end of the board meeting, the directors went into executive session to consider the expulsion of four students. Superintendent Edwin Sponseller said two are Faust students, a boy and a girl, involved in the cafeteria incidents and the district's judiciary committee has recommended their expulsion.

Keller's operation was to repair cartilage torn while trying to separate two girls in one of the cafeteria scuffles, Sponseller said.

The chat room rumor led to about 200 of the school's 1,251 students either not showing up Monday or being pulled out by their parents during the day.

"Every rumor was tracked down. Everyone rumored to have a weapon was checked out, Rabold said. No weapons were found, he said.

A parent asked about rumors of a "hit list" of students on the chat room and what was being done to protect those children.

"We've not seen a hit list," Rabold said, although some students have told the administration about one.

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