Chambersburg school board approves plan for technical center

October 25, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - The transition team reported Wednesday on a $47 million plan for the Chambersburg Area School District to buy and operate the Franklin County Career and Technology Center, but the school board was divided on whether to proceed with the plan.

The board voted 5-4 to present to the other five school districts Chambersburg's "vision for change" and "request that all other districts join in the conversation for a positive change" at the center.

Board members David Sciamanna, Stanley Helman, Fred Rice, Norman Blowers and Joel Happel voted in favor of the resolution. Board President Thomas Orndorf and board members Renee Sharpe, Lori Leedy and William Tolleson cast the dissenting votes.

The transition team's report will be presented to the technology center's Joint Operating Committee tonight. The committee is made up of representatives from the school boards of Chambersburg, Waynesboro, Greencastle-Antrim, Tuscarora, Shippensburg and Fannett-Metal school districts.


The plan calls for the district to purchase the school and make renovations and expand for $27.6 million while spending as much as $19.4 million to add an academic wing. Chambersburg sends its students to the center for career and academic courses all day throughout the year. The other districts send students for career training only for one semester at a time.

The report stated that enrollment at the center has declined almost 18 percent since 1999, while the per-student cost of educating its students has increased about 49 percent. Transition Team Leader Patrick Evans said the existence of the center is in question if nothing is done.

The center might still be improved with the cooperation of all the districts without Chambersburg buying it, Orndorf said. Leedy and Tolleson question the higher enrollment numbers projected by the report and Sharpe asked whether the district can afford to buy it without sacrificing district building projects.

Happel questioned whether any positive changes can be made with the Joint Operating Committee running the center.

"If ever there was a need for a benign dictatorship, it was that school," he said.

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