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Career center might cut equipment funds

March 01, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Joint Operating Committee of the Franklin County Career and Technology Center will consider reopening its 2009-10 budget next month and reducing the amount of money allocated for buying equipment.

Next year's budget includes a $330,000 capital reserve fund, said James Duffey, the center's executive director. The committee will consider reducing that to $200,000, he said.

"I would just have to determine what equipment not to buy next year," Duffey said after Thursday's meeting of the committee. State grants for career technology programs, he said, "are drying up."

Diesel technology instructor Kevin Grove said he is concerned the center will be renovated and expanded at the cost of $15 million, but the equipment students train on will be outdated. The two-year expansion project is supposed to begin in early 2010.

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Delaying purchases could hurt in the long run, he said.

"With the government printing all this money, inflation is going to go up," Grove said.

He told the committee he depleted his equipment budget earlier in the day, ordering a $2,600 engine scanner.

The price of the scanner was set to go up to $3,800 next week, Grove said.

"Our students are going out into the most competitive workplace we've ever seen," Grove said. "If we don't keep the most up-to-date equipment, we're going to lose that edge."

Grove said he wants to purchase a more modern truck and pickup to replace older vehicles on which his 20 students now work.

Duffey said the committee, made up of representatives of county schools that send students to the center, might consider using tuition paid next year by students from the Gettysburg and Fannett-Metal school districts for the general fund or a capital reserve account.

Fannett-Metal is withdrawing from a consortium that operates the center, but will still send students on a tuition basis, and Gettysburg in Adams County will also start sending students who pay tuition.

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