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Tuscarora school board supports career center plan

December 04, 2007|By DON AINES

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - The Tuscarora School Board Monday voted to support the Waynesboro Area School District's plan for the Franklin County Career and Technology Center with some additions suggested by Superintendent Rebecca E. Erb.

Last month, Waynesboro Superintendent Barry Dallara offered a plan for the future of the center as an alternative to the Chambersburg Area School District proposal to take over its ownership and operation. That plan would keep the existing center under the ownership and control of the six participating districts while offering to sell Chambersburg about 35 acres to construct an academic building for its career and technology students.

Dallara's plan also asks the districts to commit to a minimum number of student slots at the center, equivalent to at least 8 percent of their high school populations in grades 10 through 12.

Erb said that 8 percent would be less than the number of students the district is currently sending to the center.

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Chambersburg's administration has proposed spending up to $47 million to buy and expand the center and charging the other districts tuition for their students. It also is asking those districts to commit to a minimum number of student slots at the center, regardless of whether all are used, to help fund operations.

Another part of the Waynesboro alternative is expanding the Joint Operating Committee from nine to 15 members. That could give the largest district, Chambersburg, up to seven members on the committee, giving it representation closer to the percentage of students it has enrolled.

"Normally, when you make a board bigger, it creates more problems," said board member Guy Hollenshead.

Erb's amendments to the Waynesboro plan include the following:

· The career center operating budget should be subject to the taxing limits imposed by Act 1. Budget increases could be determined by averaging the allowable inflationary indexes for each district.

· Programs need to be consistent with national and state standards for career and technical education, with programs being updated or eliminated.

· Using a formula similar to AYP (average yearly progress), the center would be accountable for student achievement in each program area.

· The quota for minimum student enrollment could be re-evaluated and revised, perhaps every three years.

· Each district would develop its own admissions standards as long as they were equal to or more stringent than the center's.

Erb said she would present the amended proposal to a meeting of the superintendents on Thursday.

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