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Chambersburg schools cut clubs with low membership

August 26, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Chambersburg Area School Board on Wednesday eliminated several extracurricular clubs that have little participation, including the high school's forensics, science Olympiad and skateboarding programs.

Clubs cut at Faust Junior High School include French, health careers, Y club and computer club.

Assistant Superintendent Eric Michael said administrators will continue to evaluate clubs and recommend ones with fewer than 10 participants be eliminated.

The district announced the possibility of cuts Monday, but only one remark about the extracurricular programs was made during the meeting's public comment session Wednesday evening. Allen Piper, from Citizens for Responsible Government, commended the board and administrators for looking for cost savings, then criticized them for other spending.

"I doubt whether there's anyone on this board who is actually in favor of this," board President Stanley Helman said, referring to the clubs being dissolved.

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Because Pennsylvania legislative leaders are two months overdue in passing a state budget, the district has not received $5.5 million in state payments for July and August, Superintendent Joseph Padasak said.

"That can have an impact and will have an impact on our district operations," he said.

A district news release stated that approximately $30,000 will be saved in coaching and club adviser stipends due to the board's decisions.

The board also combined the sixth- and seventh-grade orchestras, eliminated interscholastic diving and eliminated Chambersburg Area Senior High School after-school basketball intramurals. It established a $50 fee for behind-the-wheel driving instruction, but not the required classroom coursework.

The district already has cut the French program and positions including two reading specialists, six secondary teachers, a technology integrator, four support personnel and two central office administrators. Officials looked at retirements and resignations as ways to make the cuts.

Textbook purchases have been delayed, field trips were limited and transportation changes are being made for extracurricular activities.

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