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Franklin begins school referendum information campaign

Sept. 19, 2012

Franklin - On Nov. 6, voters will be asked to decide three separate questions that taken together represent $50 million worth of possible improvements to Franklin public schools:

whether to spend up to $20.4 million to expand and renovate academic spaces at Franklin High School,

whether to invest up to $12.6 million to construct and enlarge the high school music and auditorium facilities, and

whether to spend up to $15.8 million to expand and renovate the middle school.

"We wanted to make sure that people really understand that these are three separate questions, three separate votes," Superintendent Steve Patz said.

He noted that in all three cases, a basic need to expand facilities and programs stems from overcrowding and a projection that the city will continue to grow, generating an increase in the school-age population.

Parent groups are supportive so far, though some associated with the district know it will be a tough sell.

Shaun and Kerrie Tinholt, co-presidents of the Southwood Glen PTA, said the informational meeting for their school was generally positive.

"I think people took in the information in the spirit for which it was intended," Shaun Tinholt said. "It was informational and not a sell. It was good to get the information because there are so many details."

United Music Parent President Cherie Stein said she supports the proposed music expansion and renovation. She noted that others are not so supportive of any referendum.

"There is a strong contingency of people who are opposed to an increase in their property taxes for any reason, and that is very frustrating to me," Stein said. "With interest rates at historic lows, this is the perfect time to not only support every effort to improve our school district for future generations, but to help support our property values at the same time."

NOW will present detailed breakdowns of each question in the coming weeks.

Learn more

WHAT:referendum information fairs

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15

WHERE: Forest Park Middle School, 8255 W. Forest Hill Ave.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22

WHERE: Franklin High School, 8222 S. 51st St.

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