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School board balks at 4-day week

February 18, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Waynesboro Area School Board members on Tuesday expressed hesitation about trying a four-day work week this summer, despite other school districts in Franklin County opting to make the switch.

The board delayed any decision on the four 10-hour work days until the district superintendent returns from an absence related to a respiratory illness. Board members questioned how much could really be saved in utilities.

"I'm not sure we're going to save any money. I'm also not sure how many people are going to stay 10 hours," board member Leland Lemley said.

Energy providers estimated the district could save $4,000 by closing buildings on Fridays from mid-June to Aug. 3. Greencastle-Antrim, Tuscarora and Chambersburg Area school districts will all use four-day work weeks for part of the summer.

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Waynesboro board member Chris Devers asked whether employees are in favor of the idea.

Business Administrator Caroline Dean estimated that 30 people would be affected by the decision. Of the ones with whom she's talked, none have been opposed to the idea.

"For people not used to doing 10 (hours), I really question whether you get that quantity and quality in the final two hours," Devers said.

Lemley said that extra hours of building use Monday through Thursday would significantly cut into potential savings. He predicted the district would save about 5 percent for those weeks.

Renovation of the high school would continue on the Fridays when buildings are otherwise closed, Dean said.

In other business, the board unanimously approved 3 percent salary increases for the five tax collectors in its district. Under law, school districts' payments to tax collectors can be reviewed once every four years.

Dean recommended the increases because their average cost per bill was lower than surrounding districts and the state average. Waynesboro's $1.01 per bill compares to about $3.30 in the Tuscarora School District, whose board recently lowered that to $3 per parcel, effective in the 2010-11 academic year.

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