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Majority of school task force dislikes grade alignment

March 31, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A survey of the members of an advisory task force shows that three-quarters of those responding do not favor the grade alignment in the Chambersburg Area School District.

The survey, conducted by the architectural firm of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, shows 26 of the 35 respondents to the question do not think the alignment of sixth and seventh grades in middle school, eighth and ninth in junior high and 10th through 12th in high school is the best way to group the district's students.

The survey showed 48 percent favored creating a middle school system for sixth through eighth grades and a high school alignment of ninth through 12th grades. Another 11 percent said separate groupings for ninth and 10th grades and 11th and 12th would be best, the survey said.

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The survey said 35 percent want one ninth-through- 12th-grade high school for approximately 2,400 students, but 44 percent want two high school buildings of 1,200 students each.

The survey does not distinguish whether the respondents want two nine-through-12 schools, or one building for freshmen and sophomores and another for juniors and seniors.

Rick Hupper, an educational adviser for Crabtree, Rohrbaugh, said he recommends the nine-through-12 alignment because ninth-graders present less of a disciplinary problem when they have to answer to upperclassmen.

Three quarters of respondents favor two middle school buildings of about 1,000 students each, according to the survey.

More than half the respondents prefer elementary schools with three classrooms for each grade and about 400 students, the survey said. Another 21 percent want four-classroom-deep elementary schools, an option Hupper and Paul Taylor, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh's director of educational architecture, said provides the most educational and cost advantages.

The district has 18 elementary schools. The task force, which is advising the firm in developing a districtwide facilities master plan, said that number is too high. Two-thirds of those surveyed said the number should be from eight to 13 schools.

A list of building options and their costs will be reviewed at the task force's April 20 and May 4 meetings.

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