New schools open, more students likely in Franklin Co. school

August 27, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Starting today, school is back in session for students in Franklin County's public schools. Fulton County schools start later this week.

As usual, the beginning of the school year will be a mix of excitement and anxiety for children.

"I don't know who any of the kids in my section are yet, so I'm a little worried about that," said Kelsey Buterbaugh, who will be in seventh grade at James Buchanan Middle School in Mercersburg.

The 12-year-old is excited to return to school chorus, which she started last year.

Changes were in the works at many schools during summer vacation.

Chambersburg Area School District, for example, will open its new Fayetteville Elementary School and host about 560 children there.

District personnel this weekend continued to implement new software that manages student records, Superintendent Joseph Padasak said.

He predicted that software glitches could lead to problems like students being initially assigned to incorrect study halls. Guidance department employees have said it could take a month before everything is running smoothly, Padasak said.


For the rest of the district, Friday is the target to have operations normal, Padasak said.

Chambersburg Area School District has been challenged with a late surge in student enrollments, with an average of 50 children being registered daily last week. Typically, almost half of those were enrolling in the high school, Padasak said.

"It's just phenomenal," he said, adding that higher-than-average enrollments are expected to continue this week.

The district could start with 8,800 students, but it usually levels off at 8,500, Padasak said.

Enrollment at Tuscarora School District should be comparable to last year, said Rebecca Erb, superintendent of the 2,700-student district in the Mercersburg area.

"Everyone's ready to go," Erb said. "The classrooms are ready."

She and other administrators will start their day today at elementary schools, monitoring the transportation situation. The district has eliminated the practice of shuttling students beyond their assigned school.

"The buses are ready," Padasak said regarding Chambersburg.

"We'll have a large call volume at the bus garage, so we set up a phone bank there," he said.

Waynesboro and Greencastle-Antrim high schools have new principals.

Edward "Ed" Rife will be taking over the helm at Greencastle-Antrim, following the retirement of Jack Appleby in June. Christopher L. Dennis takes over for Jon Bilbo in Waynesboro.

Waynesboro Area Senior High School continues to move forward with a $46 million renovation and expansion project.

"I'm excited to meet my teacher," said Carina Dery, 10, who will be in fifth grade at Waynesboro's Fairview Elementary School.

Carina wants to improve math skills this year and is happy that two friends are in her class.

"This year, I do basketball for my school, so I'm looking forward to that," said Kennedy Guerin, 9. She will be in fifth grade at Mountain View Elementary School in Mercersburg.

In Fulton County, Central Fulton and Forbes Road schools start Wednesday. Southern Fulton schools start Tuesday.

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