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School board to stick with half-day career center plan

February 02, 2006|By DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg School Board voted Wednesday night to continue the half-day delivery schedule for students attending the Franklin County Career and Technology Center through at least the 2006-07 school year.

Last week the center's Joint Operating Committee, made up of board members of the participating districts, voted 5-4 to allow Chambersburg to continue sending students to the center half the day, while attending Chambersburg Area Senior High School the other half. Until this school year, Chambersburg students, like those from the other five districts, attended the center for one semester and their high school the other semester.

Chambersburg has the highest enrollment at the center with about 400 students.

"I'm extremely opposed to this half-day delivery system," said Terry Strock, the parent of a career center student. "Nobody is much thought to the damage it's doing to these kids."

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"His education right now is kind of in limbo," parent Robert Poe said of his son.

Some parents have said the schedule allows neither enough time for academic courses at the high school, or technology programs at the center. Paul Ambrose, however, was the only board member to vote against continuing half-day service.

Ambrose said the problems of shortened class periods and moving students back and forth between the high school and center "is not good for education" and recommended the district return to the semester system.

Some of the six board members who voted to continue the schedule - two members were absent - cited the need to improve test scores at the high school as required by federal No Child Left Behind regulations.

"We have no choice but to improve our scores across the district," board member David Sciamanna said. Board member Renee Sharpe said half days will ultimately benefit students, but expressed concerns about the district having gone to a nine-period day to accommodate the schedule.

Board members conceded the system needs improvement and Board President Craig Musser said it will be re-evaluated next year.

"It's only been going on six months," High School Principal Barry Purvis said of the schedule. "It has gotten better even from the beginning of the year."

Career center students need to be in the high school daily to improve their academic performance, Purvis said. The need for academic improvement, he added, is not limited to those students.

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