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Franklin County Career and Technology Center enrollment at new low

April 25, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Enrollment at the Franklin County Career and Technology Center is historically low at 705 this year, but Principal Michele Orner told the Joint Operating Committee that the center will meet or exceed its 2008-09 goal of 835 students.

Projected enrollment for next year is 806, Orner told the committee Thursday. At this point, the Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Tuscarora, Greencastle-Antrim and Fannett-Metal school districts all show increased attendance for next year. Waynesboro's enrollment is down one student to 130, according to her figures.

Chambersburg, the district which sends the most students to the center, will have 352 there next year, up from 296 now, Orner said. Greencastle-Antrim expects to be up 26 to 79 students and Fannett-Metal, the smallest district, would nearly double, from 10 to 18.

Orner said the figures do not include a possible 37 tuition students that will be coming from Gettysburg High School in Adams County.

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The center is for students in grades 10 through 12, and it also has an introductory program for Chambersburg ninth-graders. That program takes up to 25 freshmen per semester, allowing them the opportunity to experience all of the programs offered at the center.

That freshman program also is not counted in the projected 2008-09 enrollment figure of 806, Orner said. Almost all of the students who took part in the program this year have enrolled for next year, she said.

"The biggest thing is the recruitment process," going into the participating districts and making presentations to freshmen and having them tour the facility, Orner said.

The Culinary Arts, Agricultural Mechanics and Allied Health programs are full and have waiting lists, Orner said.

There also are 35 students whose applications are "on hold" for academic or other reasons and 43 who applied for veterinary technology, a course the center does not yet offer.

"If we don't do it next year, we should do it the year after that," Chambersburg Superintendent Joseph Padasak said. He suggested a program be started by the second semester of next year.

Enrollment at the center, particularly from Chambersburg, flagged in recent years as the district experimented with half-day attendance one year, then adopted year-round attendance in 2006-07. Chambersburg sends students to the center for both career and academic courses, while the others have students attending one semester at a time.

The districts also are trying to iron out a new agreement that could lead to a $15 million expansion and renovation of the building. Chambersburg also wants to add a $21 million academic wing for its students.

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