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Chambersburg approves 2006-07 school budget

June 15, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg School Board on Wednesday night unanimously approved an $89,009,707 budget for 2006-07 and approved a plan to build a Fayetteville Elementary School in one year to handle a growing elementary population.

The budget is unchanged from the one presented at a public hearing last week that raises real estate taxes 3.68 mills to 70.68 mills. The budget would raise taxes on a property with a market value of $100,000 by about $48 to $919, according to Business Manager Rick Vensel.

One mill is equal to $1 on every $1,000 of assessed value on a property.

The biggest discussion on the budget was the hiring of seven new elementary teachers, budgeted at $410,000. Catherine Dusman, the assistant superintendent for elementary services, said the district would only add all seven positions if needed, but the elementary-age population of the district is growing fast.

Dusman said the elementary population is up 150 from 2005-06, "but it's only June 14" and more students will likely enroll between now and when school opens in late August.

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Dusman also said she wants to see eight full-day kindergarten classes in the district next year, something that could be accomplished by shifting teachers to at-risk schools, but only if the numbers do not increase significantly in the next two months.

"I really believe kindergarten is where it starts ... That's where we've seen our really positive results," she said.

The board also approved eight contracts totaling $14 million for the new Fayetteville school. The contracts are for an accelerated schedule that would have construction start in August and be completed in time for the opening of the 2007-08 school year. That is about $300,000 more than the nonaccelerated schedule, which would see the school open in January 2008.

Completing the school on that schedule, however, is dependent upon the Pennsylvania Department of Education giving the district all the necessary approvals by Aug. 1, Vensel said.

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