My husband and I have served on the organizational committee and on the bond committee for the West Franklin 287 school district. We both felt it was important to our schools and students in the district to become involved. The organizational committee was made up of parents, grandparents, teachers and concerned patrons from all areas of the district.
We held meetings in all three areas to get input as to the concerns and wants of the three campuses. After months of meetings we came up with the current bond. We presented our recommendation to the board of education and they accepted it unanimously. We then formed a committee to present it to the district patrons. We held informational meetings in all three areas of the district. All meetings were open to the public for discussion and questions that the patrons might have. We sent letters out to local churches and postcards to patrons inviting them to host meetings or come to meetings. The meeting dates were published in the paper.
The bond that will be voted on addressed three major issues: safety, feasibility, and to be politically correct. We have addressed safety at all three campuses.
At Williamsburg we have proposed to in-fill windows in the current storm shelter, upgrade the big windows in the gym to make them more efficient. We have proposed an enclosed walkway to connect the current grade school with the lunchroom, so the children don’t have to go outside to go to lunch and are proposing upgrading the alarm system.
At Appanoose we are proposing a storm shelter/multipurpose room. This will allow for safety and for extra classroom space, so all grades will have two classrooms. We are proposing an alarm system there also.
The high school and middle school is where we felt most of the bond should go since all children in the district will end up at these schools. We have proposed to build a new gymnasium to replace the 70-year old gym so that there are two gyms that can be utilized during school hours for physical education and other classes. They are used for programs, graduations and other events. This gym will be connected to the existing gym and there will be new classrooms to house the wood shop, vo-ag, band and weight room which are attached to the new gym. The music room is also to be used as a storm shelter for the entire middle school and high school. There will be a main lobby connecting the two gyms.
We have also proposed to build a new all-weather, eight-lane track, as the current track is gravel. The athletes that use this track are currently bussed to Ottawa University or they run on the highway and streets because the track is not safe. We have proposed to connect the existing middle school to the high school, so the children of our district will not have to leave the building once they are inside. This enclosed walkway like the walkway we proposed for Williamsburg will keep the children out of the weather and allow us to lock down both schools with one main entrance that will be monitored before anyone can enter the building. Appanoose is currently the only school with that ability.
We have also proposed an alarm system that will ring to all buildings at the middle school and high school at once, not just one building. No one is 100 percent safe, but we feel with these modifications to the buildings we have more control over the children’s safety as to who enters the buildings. At each campus the alarm system will only have to be activated once and it will go out to the whole campus. None of the members of the organizational committee got everything they wanted, but we feel it is a very good bond.
There is still animosity among the district, but I feel that it is time to let it go. To think about the generation of young students and give them the chances we were all given. We have great kids in all three areas of the district. Just go to some of the events that are held and you will see what I mean. They are smart, they are athletic and all of them are proud to be a Falcon. They just need to know that we care enough about them to want for them what other districts have. We have great teachers and coaches and they also deserve to have updated facilities to work with the students. We want growth in the district so let’s show people that are thinking about settling down in this district that our children and schools are important. Please vote yes on June 12th for our kids.
— Judy and Karl Kelsey