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Dust clearing in Franklin County school projects

August 29, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Franklin County school officials say the extra week of summer vacation this year has given them needed time to prepare buildings and staff.

Perhaps no district will benefit more by the late start of school - Sept. 2 - than the Waynesboro Area School District. There, construction workers put in long hours preparing the 71 regular classrooms and seven modular classrooms needed for students at Waynesboro Area Senior High School.

The high school is in the midst of a $46 million expansion and renovation project expected to continue into the fall or early winter of 2009.

"Three weeks ago, it was dusty and dirty and the litter of construction materials was everywhere," Interim Superintendent Gloria Walker said Tuesday. "It's not like that today."

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In the Tuscarora School District, the final week of preparation has been spent negotiating a teachers contract. The faculty union has threatened to strike if a resolution is not soon reached.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District will start to provide full-day kindergarten for all 200 children of that age. The district traditionally offered extended-day kindergarten for at-risk students, then opened up two all-day classrooms as a trial in 2007-08.

"It's really had a great effect on what we do," Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover said, explaining that the cafeteria, transportation and classrooms changed to accommodate all-day kindergarten.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District added four new teachers and offered a part-time employee a full-time position in order to provide all-day kindergarten, Hoover said. The district has a total of 15 new teachers this year and about 2,950 students, he said.

Eighteen new teachers in the Tuscarora School District, which serves Mercersburg, Pa., and surrounding townships, will join the others in an even greater focus on student achievement using action plans and Web-based resources, Superintendent Rebecca E. Erb said.

The Chambersburg Area School District has 63 new teachers, who will join more than 8,500 students on the first day of school, Assistant Superintendent Eric Michael said.

Construction will continue at Chambersburg Area Senior High School for the $73.8 million renovation and expansion there. Also, three elementary schools - the former U.L. Gordy, Mary B. Sharpe and King Street - will be consolidated into the new Benjamin Chambers Elementary School expected to open in the second semester on Miller Street.

Walker said that Waynesboro officials won't have solid enrollment figures for another two weeks, but she expects about 4,250 children to participate in classes. Work will continue for a few months on the new auditorium and new cafeteria at the high school.

"What is done looks absolutely spectacular," Walker said.

Waynesboro starts the school year with a new school resource officer, Travis Carbaugh of the Waynesboro Police Department.

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