CASD School Board Approves Marion Elementary Reconstruction


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - It's the struggle many school districts face, the balance of handling a growing demand while bearing the financial costs for the future and it's no different in Chambersburg.

"It was all about the growth but where we're putting this school there is no growth," said Joan Smith, CASD School Board Member.

"It is property that you own. To spend more money to build somewhere else to me that's not being fiscally responsible its  a piece of property that you own and i think it's a piece of property that should be used instead of spending more money," said Valerie, a concerned Marion Elementary parent.

To accommodate more students and reduce overcrowding, Chambersburg Area School District (CASD) officials are pushing to rebuild Marion Elementary, at it's current location and transitioning it from a one-deep (one class per grade) school to a two-deep (two classes per grade) school. This would add room for nearly 150 more students. The plan also includes making Grandview Elementary a four-deep school.

"Currently as far as growth, we know we need classrooms. The study says we need 40 but we're going to try to re, reallocate our students, or redistrict our students so that we can better utilize all our classrooms. So instead of needing 40, we think we can get by with 25," said Dr. Joe Padasak, Superintendent for the Chambersburg Area School District.

But to make the grade, it will cost the district and it's taxpayers nearly $10 million. A factor that some board members have concerns with.

"I just, I just can't do this to the tax payers and I know that Marion needs something done but I think a renovation would be the best way to go," said Smith.

"I feel there's not been appropriate discussion on where we will get the funds for an addition $1.5 million to our annual operating budget. Noting again that we're projected at a $2 million deficit this year," said Ed Norcross, CASD School Board Member.

After nearly an hour, the project graduated from a discussion to an approved plan with a 5-4 vote from a divided board.

School officials say construction will start this year. They hope the new school will be completed no later than September 2016.

While it's under construction, all 130 Marion Elementary School students will attend New Franklin Elementary for the upcoming school year. All of Marion's teachers and staff will be combined with New Franklin as well.

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