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Waynesboro School Board discusses career center proposal

December 12, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Forty-five minutes of discussion ensued Tuesday when Waynesboro Area School Board members debated whether to have an appraisal done on Franklin County (Pa.) Career and Technology Center land and whether to foot the bill themselves.

They ultimately agreed to pay one-fifth of the appraisal bill, which was quoted at $2,500. They plan to ask that the other portions be paid by the Tuscarora, Fannett-Metal, Greencastle-Antrim and Shippensburg Area school districts.

The appraisal would be an early component in a counterproposal to Chambersburg Area School District's offer to take over ownership and operation of the career center. The alternative 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.

The new idea was developed by Waynesboro Superintendent Barry Dallara and has since been termed the "Dallara proposal" by his board.

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Some of the board and administration felt that the appraisal would provide for the best package of information to take to the other school boards. Others said that a simple range of estimated costs would provide school boards with an understanding on the impact for them.

"I don't want to put Waynesboro taxpayers' money out there to a program that may stall or the other school districts might say (they don't support). They should pay for the planning also," board member Chris Devers said.

"The one thing we know is that Chambersburg's proposal is getting underwhelming support," board member Stanley Barkdoll said, saying later that it is "practically dead in the water."

Asking the other school boards to jointly pay for the appraisal will determine how strong their support is for the Dallara proposal, board member Firmadge Crutchfield said.

Board member Pat Heefner questioned why the board was debating spending $2,500 that would "grease the wheel" and get the effort moving forward.

Chambersburg "was willing to put millions on the line to change the dynamics of the career center," she said.

"We dither about a $2,500 appraisal, the Chambersburg proposal falls through, Mr. Dallara's plan falls through, and the vo-tech school is left ... in limbo," Heefner said.

Crutchfield and board member Edward Wilson questioned the worth of an appraisal, which Crutchfield said could be invalid in six months or a year.

"It's a dynamic economic environment," Crutchfield said.

"Nobody knows where this market is going," Wilson said.

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