Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Losing West Franklin

4/19/2013

OK! West Franklin, let’s talk about our schools. Now that we have different school board members, things are uncertain. I was sure we would lose our district in less than 10 years. We might have a chance now If this board wants our schools to succeed. With problems and Gov. Sam Brownback, life is uncertain.

When consolidation was first mentioned. Williamsburg was against it. We were sure we would lose students. We had a bus barn, a well-equipped FFA building, a wood working shop, a fairly new lunch/music building, and the best football field in Franklin County, with sprinklers, perfect grass and excellent lighting (which Pomona took). And we had a newer building designed as a learning center. No one listened. Williamsburg had a very good reputation.When things were changed, people pulled their children and sent them to the district where they lived. Dotson Bradbury said we have lost 229 students. Maybe you should listen to Williamsburg more.

OK! West Franklin, let’s talk about our schools. Now that we have different school board members, things are uncertain. I was sure we would lose our district in less than 10 years. We might have a chance now If this board wants our schools to succeed. With problems and Gov. Sam Brownback, life is uncertain.

When consolidation was first mentioned. Williamsburg was against it. We were sure we would lose students. We had a bus barn, a well-equipped FFA building, a wood working shop, a fairly new lunch/music building, and the best football field in Franklin County, with sprinklers, perfect grass and excellent lighting (which Pomona took). And we had a newer building designed as a learning center. No one listened. Williamsburg had a very good reputation.When things were changed, people pulled their children and sent them to the district where they lived. Dotson Bradbury said we have lost 229 students. Maybe you should listen to Williamsburg more.

Now to the bond. Bradbury was quoted saying we are behind in our classroom technology, students cannot do wood working and the gyms are bad. Why haven’t these been repaired? We have the money for repairs, but the school board chose not to keep us up to date. Remember Ottawa’s Middle School? The building was so bad school was called in the middle of the year. That building is still standing today. Ottawa’s school board made a new building the only choice.

At West Franklin, decisions were thrown out twice because they didn’t give the answers board members wanted. Does a new building really cause students to do better in class? That was one of the questions on a survey sent to us. My answer? I have students on the all-A’s honor roll in the current building. I think teachers are more important than some people are willing to admit. The bond is for an all-weather track and a ballfield on a 30-year loan. Will they last that long? Why do we need an all-weather track? So we can say we have it? Is it something we should brag about when we are behind in classroom technology?

If this bond money cannot be spent on equipment for the classroom, why do we need empty classrooms? Let’s get equipment for the teachers and students before we worry about extra ballfields. I am a computer nerd. No problem for me. It’s a problem for a child leaving any West Franklin school. They cannot learn if they don’t have the technology in the classroom.

By the way, the gossip is that if the bond issue doesn’t pass, 14 jobs will be lost. Where? That is why I say gossip. Those jobs lost might have to include more than teachers. Do you know a good teacher no longer working for West Franklin?

Remember, if the bond issue passes, Appanoose and Williamsburg will lose recreation program and facilities beyond the schools.

Do you know Garnett wants a new hospital? It will cost less to build a new one than to repair the old one. Where have I heard that mentality? When I ask why repairs haven’t been made as needed? No answer.

I’ll agree, another tax doesn’t thrill me, but the loss of this school district is more of a worry — maybe not for me, but I have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren living here. It would be nice if they could enjoy the fruits of our labor.

— Lucille Gooding, Williamsburg

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