As the Green Local School District in Franklin Furnace, prepares for the upcoming election and their levy, Superintendent, Jodi Armstrong spoke on what is planned, before and after the election.
One thing Armstrong mentioned as to one of the many reasons Green needs a new school was that of safety concerns. When the school was built, issues that have happened in the country today did not exist, so she said they need a new school, to assure their building is the safest or one of the safest around. She also, spoke on the exits and entrances and that now schools have so many more buses, more parents that drive their kids to school and these exits and entrances were not built to prepare for that need as well.
Of course, with most things involving taxes and money, there is sometimes opposition or negative comments about a levy. There was a question about a home being built for the superintendent. Armstrong was quick to say, that first of all, when working with the State Facilities Commission, every penny is accounted for and under no circumstances would that be allowed to happen. She did say, “We are, however, working with a homeowner to purchase a home that according to the Scioto County Auditor’s website was built in 1965. That home is across from the board office. That home would be “tucked in” between the current school and where the new school would be constructed. This home would not be used for anyone’s personal use. It would be used for what the Green Local School board may deem necessary. We have talked about using it as a board office, learning lab, online classroom, community meeting area…the list goes on; we don’t want to limit our future options.”
Armstrong mentioned there is a difference between what the state will pay 71% on and what the LSI Locally Funded Initiative will pay on, like baseball or football fields etc. those things do not apply to the 71.29% the state gives. Anything in that building, does apply to the 71% from the state.
Armstrong, who lives in the Green Local School District and said it is her home, wanted to point out that she has a home in the Green Local School District and she too will be paying these taxes. She said the team of people that worked on getting the levy wanted to try to get the taxes as close as possible, to the old operational levy that is timed out.
Armstrong spoke about the furniture that would be in the new building, if the levy does pass. “According to the School Facilities Commission, none of the old furniture can be moved to the new building. This is true for all newly built buildings in the State of Ohio, that use the money the state gives.” She also talked about how the desks needed for today’s students are not the same, for example, if there is a student that is left-handed, back in the day of the old building, they got a right-handed desk. Now, schools and the state want to accommodate for the needs of their students. “If a student has a very significant need, we can purchase furniture to meet that specific need. If your physical needs are not met, you are probably going to have a difficult time focusing on any kind of academics. We are not going to go out and look for the most expensive thing out there.Why wouldn’t we take this opportunity to meet the needs of those students who need it?”
Armstrong discussed what would happen if the levy passes. She said, “the typical timeline after you are given the go ahead to build, is one year of planning, even though they have done a lot of planning already. You have to go through an entire process with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to get all those final pieces in place, then after you do break ground, it’s about two years on the build, because there is so much that goes into it.”
They are also planning on keeping the high school gym and band room of the old building and they will be re-purposed. They are having a new band room and gyms in the new building, but they are going to maintain that space, whether they use it for community events, youth programs, it’s space they have that can be brought up to code and used for a multitude of things, trying to look beyond just today. “We are trying to make sure we don’t limit our kids in the future. We want to be sure we have a building in place that can do that as much as possible,” said Armstrong.
Green does has one more public meeting if voters have any questions or concerns before the upcoming election. This last community meeting is this Thursday, October 25th from 5:00-6:00 PM in the High School Cafeteria with their Family Fall Festival beginning right after. They will have a free Savory Soup Bar for all meeting attendees.
When speaking of whether or not she feels the levy will pass or not, Armstrong was quick to say, “I believe in our community, I believe that we will come together and keep kids at the forefront, so I believe we will come together for the next generation of Bobcats.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1948