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WASHS student asks board to keep assistant principal job

June 03, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. -- A Waynesboro Area Senior High School student presented the school board a petition this week asking it to reconsider eliminating an assistant principal position.

Junior Tyler Bowders said he drafted the petition and worked with classmates to collect 185 signatures in three days. The petition addressed the security risks they perceive could be created if the position was cut.

Assistant Principal Matt Strine has submitted his resignation, creating a vacancy the board could have filled. However, the school board's preliminary budget for 2010-11 did not include funding for that position.

"I'd like to respectfully submit this to the board," Tyler said during Wednesday's meeting.

Board member K. Marilyn Smith said later in the meeting she, too, feels the assistant principal position should be preserved. She said she'd support an additional half a mill tax increase for the job.

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A mill represents $1 of every $1,000 of assessed property value.

"My question is, 'Why are we always going to the taxpayers?'" board member Chris Lind said.

"There are going to be cuts people will feel before I go to the taxpayers," board member Leland Lemley said.

Board member Bonnie Bachtell said the district stands to lose its school resource officer, probation officer and an assistant principal. She said she fears an impact on school security.

Board member Billie Finn said she questions the need for so many administrators, saying the schools should expel repeat offenders.

"What if we reduce (assistant principal staffing) and see what happens?" she asked.

"In this day and age, kids are doing things so much worse than we were. We need to do everything we can to give these kids the tools they need to lead a good and healthy life," Smith said.

Budget issues dominated the meeting's public comment periods, with one grandparent telling the board it needs to find money to keep a school resource officer in the secondary schools. Amos Miller said he disagrees with an assessment the board can't legally pay for the position, but he said if that's the opinion the majority of board members agree with, they should find alternate funding.

"I just find and feel this position is so important to the school," Miller said.

The board delayed several budget decisions, but did agree to raise entrance fees for athletic events. Board members said they'd prefer to increase those fees, rather than charge a "pay-to-play" fee for student athletes.

Entrance will now be $5 for adults and $3 for all other groups, including students and senior citizens.

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