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Chambersburg's career center share falls

others to pay more

April 26, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Due to a declining enrollment, the Chambersburg Area School District's share of the 2007-08 budget for the Franklin County Career and Technology Center has fallen slightly from the current year, while some of the other five districts have seen substantial increases.

The Chambersburg School Board voted 7-2 on Wednesday to approve the budget, which calls for the districts to contribute $4.6 million to the overall budget of $5.3 million. Chambersburg's share fell from 42.9 percent to 39.3 percent.

Next year, the district with more than 300 students enrolled at the center this year, will pay $1,812,807 for its share of the budget, about $10,000 less than this year.

Superintendent Joseph Padasak said the number could have been substantially less.

"That figure should be down $250,000 ... We generously gave a quarter of a million dollars to balance the budget," said Padasak, referring to the amount Chambersburg gave above its obligation to help defray the higher costs of other districts. Padasak said the Tuscarora School District had one more student this year than last, but its share will increase $161,609 to $751,738, according to the center's budget.

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Shippensburg's share is up $134,625 to $732,826, according to the budget. Fannett-Metal School District with just 15 students enrolled, would increase from $68,402 this year to $115,411 in 2007-08, according to budget figures.

Although the other districts have approved the budget, the Fannett-Metal School Board voted against it, Padasak said. That district already has to put its budget before voters in a May 15 referendum because its proposed tax increase exceeds Act 1 limits, he said.

"They just felt the cost was more than they were willing to pay," Padasak said.

"Our costs will go up substantially next year" when Chambersburg begins offering vocational education at the center for up to 50 of its students, board member Stanley Helman said.

In a letter accompanying the budget, James Duffey, director of the center, wrote that "the dramatic shifts in share that we are proposing for next year again calls attention to the need to re-examine the funding formula uses to determine local share." That formula bases each district's share of an upcoming year on enrollment during the current year.

Several years ago, Chambersburg representatives to the center's Joint Operating Committee recommended funding be based on a three-year average, board member Fred Rice said. That change would have required the approval of all six districts, but one district balked and it never went forward, he said.

The district is again proposing a change in the funding formula as part of its plan to take over operations of the center and offer comprehensive career and academic education for its students.

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