Career center plan gets early support from Tuscarora board

June 26, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - The Tuscarora School Board has backed the next step in the Chambersburg Area School District's plan to take over ownership and operations of the Franklin County Career and Technology Center.

Board President Jane M. Rice put her head in her hands when she realized hers would be the deciding vote Monday. Her "yes" made the vote 5-3, with board member Donald L. Piper absent.

The decision was to support the Chambersburg district as it conducts a formal study into how the transition would happen, a study that in all likelihood would proceed even without the support of other Franklin County school boards.

"We're basically saying, 'We'll cooperate while you explore other options for us,'" Superintendent Rebecca E. Erb said.

The board voted on her recommendation, which was to approve the start of a study while acknowledging Tuscarora wants to reduce the number of students it sends to the career center by at least 40 percent. Erb proposed doing that by improving career exploration at the high school and bolstering articulated program offerings that can result in college credits.


"It would give us an opportunity to improve our in-house programs. ... We'd hope that program would compete with the career and technology center," she said.

The district pays about $6,200 for each student who goes to the career center, Business Manager Rick Kerr said.

"I think our kids deserve to go there. The cheapest way is to cooperate with Chambersburg," he said.

Board member Larry M. Buchanan said his "no" vote concerned Chambersburg's perceived ability to make its own rules.

"Chambersburg needs our dollars to make that operation go. My concern is that it's an open checkbook," said board member Clifford A. Smith Jr.

Board member Janice M. Hawbaker said she feels that even if the vote was labeled as the go-ahead for a study, it's really a vote to proceed with the takeover as a whole.

"I don't think the way we vote amounts to a hill of beans," she said.

"They have very little concrete (information) they can offer us. I think this will buy us some time. ... We wouldn't be locking into any commitment," said board member Guy N. Hollenshead.

How they voted

The Tuscarora School Board, which serves students from Mercersburg, Pa., St. Thomas, Pa., and neighboring townships, voted 5-3 Monday to support the Chambersburg Area School District's study into how it would take over the Franklin County Career and Technology Center.

Voting yes: Guy N. Hollenshead, Venus L. Plessinger, Jane M. Rice, Michael J. Rice and Clifford A. Smith Jr.

Voting against: Gale C. Bricker, Larry M. Buchanan and Janice M. Hawbaker.

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