Monday, July 28, 2003

Franklin Schools: Bond issue will ease crowding

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

FRANKLIN - Sixth-graders in the Franklin Schools would eventually move to the junior high school if voters here approve a $16.7 million bond issue on the Aug. 5 ballot.

If passed, the 2.84-mill issue would give the Warren County district of 3,100 students enough money to add a dozen classrooms to the junior high to make room for sixth-graders, said Superintendent Kimberlee Gray.

"Educationally, it's more sound to have the sixth-graders with seventh- and eighth-graders,'' Gray said. "It would also alleviate some of the overcrowding issues at the elementary schools.''

Students now attend classes in foyers and hallways, and music and art teachers have no classrooms, she said.

Passage of the bond issue would also allow for the addition of two classrooms at each elementary school, a concession stand and toilets at the stadium, construction of a wellness/fitness center and a weight room at the high school, along with roof, window and door improvements at all buildings.

"It's desperately needed,'' said Tammy Turnmire, a Franklin graduate and parent. "I want the pride back in the Franklin Schools. I know (improvements to the schools) would bring back the pride.''

But not everyone is convinced the improvements are needed. Odus Rudd said the bond issue is too high, especially for elderly residents on a fixed income.

Further, residents already rejected the issue once this year and the board should have trimmed the scope of the projects before putting it back on the ballot, Rudd said.

"It's too much money, too much waste,'' Rudd said. "Somebody has got to recognize that the elderly have to live, too. I know of at least five in my neighborhood who can't afford it.''

Had the bond issue been smaller or different, Rudd said he might have supported it.

Under the plan, about $3 millionwould be spent on the high school, including replacing the roof and adding a wellness/fitness center. Another $6.3 million would be spent on the junior high, mostly for classrooms and demolition of the one-story shop area.

About $6.2 million is earmarked for the elementary schools, with the bulk going toward classroom additions. Improvements to the stadium, including upgrading the seating and building a concession stand with toilets, would cost about $1.2 million.



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