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Recommendations for career center will be presented

February 22, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Final recommendations from a consultant regarding the Franklin County (Pa.) Career and Technology Center will go before its governing body tonight, along with a letter from the Waynesboro Area School Board condemning the consultant's call for a half-day program.

That program would involve students from the six county school districts splitting their time between academic classes at their high schools and vocational classes at the career center.

"Part time, half-day causes us to lose instructional time for transportation," Waynesboro Superintendent Barry Dallara told his school board earlier this week.

Many board members nodded as the discussion continued about their perceived pitfalls of a half-day program at a career center 17 miles from the high school.

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"The geography is too much to overcome," Dallara said.

The Chambersburg (Pa.) Area School District had enlisted Thomas R. Winters, a former deputy secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to review the operations of the career center. Chambersburg in the past two school years has experimented with both half-day and comprehensive programs for its students.

The other school districts have been sending students to the career center for a semester, then to their high school for a semester.

"We changed our entire delivery system to support what we're doing now," Waynesboro board member Larry Glenn said.

Career center teachers say that students don't arrive for their afternoon classes after leaving the high school in the morning, Waynesboro board member Leland Lemley said.

"As I read that (final report), I had some real concerns," Lemley said.

The final report from Winters also calls for additional programs at the career center, although Dallara said he would encourage the joint operating committee to explore ways of consolidating and prioritizing programs or using satellite instruction. Winters explored possibilities for expansion, and additional programs easily could mean renovation of the 39-year-old facilities.

"I'm not sure the wallets of the districts can handle a renovation of what's there now plus 11 more programs," Dallara said.

Joseph Padasak, superintendent of the Chambersburg Area School District, said Winters' report will be handed out tonight to members of the Career and Technology Center's Joint Operating Committee.

Jan Sulcove, the district's solicitor, will be at the meeting to discuss an appraisal of the center, which puts the value of the nearly 40-year-old building at more than $5 million, Padasak said.

However, a feasibility study estimates the cost of renovating and expanding the center into a comprehensive school for both vocational and academic instruction at $47 million, Padasak said. He and James Duffey, the center's director, will make a presentation on the study to the committee, he said.

The committee members will be asked to take the information back to their school boards "and see if they're willing to go along with us, or if they want us to handle it," Padasak said.

Staff writer Don Aines contributed to this story.

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