​Franklin County Schools Strategic Plan, BEP Resolution

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Nov. 9 meeting, the Franklin County School Board approved a 5-year strategic plan and adopted a resolution calling for state legislative action to not decrease Basic Eduction Funding (BEP) funding for the 2021–22 school year.

Board member Sarah Marhevsky praised the revised strategic plan, “It talks about our values and beliefs…and what we want to do is more clearly laid out.” Marhevsky previously requested an emphasis on social emotional learning and cultural diversity training both of which were included in the revised plan. Board Chair Cleijo Walker reminded the board they had committed to a biannual progress review—“We’ll ask every six months where we are with this.” Looking to the future Marhevsky said, “In my ideal world I’d like to have Pre-K at all schools…and [more] diversity in hiring. As of the end of September our certified staff is 96.6 percent white.”

Taking up the “Resolution of The Franklin County Board of Education in Support of A Basic Education Program Hold Harmless Legislation for the 2021 – 2022 School Year” Walker said the resolution “asks that BEP funding not change, but remain at least the same as it was last year.”

The resolution notes, “Student enrollment (average daily membership) is the primary driver of funds generated by the BEP…[but] Tennessee schools may see a decrease in attendance in the 2020–21 school year as families take precautions to combat the spread of COVID-19.” Enrollment in the 2020–21 school year may not accurately reflect needs in 2021–22, because “there is a one (1) year lag in how enrollment affects BEP funding amounts.”

Director of School Stanley Bean said neighboring school districts, likewise, supported the resolution.

In other business, the board approved changes to the Extended School Day/Year policy. Extended School Program coordinator Kim Nuckolls recommended the changes to make the policy more consistent with current practices, said Assistant Superintendent Linda Foster. The hours of operation will change slightly at some schools and the following holiday closing days were added: the day before and after Thanksgiving (not just Thanksgiving), Memorial Day, and the entire week of Independence Day. Foster noted all sites were not open at the present, because at some schools there were not enough students enrolled in the program to make it self-supporting.

In closing, Bean recognized Gary Clardy, construction manager for the new middle-schools project. “Gary has been a tremendous help to the county and the school system. He went to school here, so he had some skin in the game. Gary cared about doing the right thing for Franklin County. He has been like a brother to me.”

The two new schools are near completion. “My goal is to have everything wrapped up by the end of the year,” Clardy said. “I plan on continuing to come once a week until everything closes smoothly.”