School Board Approves Middle School Funding Request

Supports Sherwood Community Center Changes
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Dec. 10 meeting, the Franklin County School Board passed a resolution asking the county commission “to offer and issue instruments of funding in the amount of $48 million to fund construction” of two new middle schools. The board also voiced support of an initiative to repair or replace the Crow Creek Community Center in Sherwood.
In July, the county commission authorized spending $1.8 million to design the new middle schools. Last month the school board approved the completed design.
“We need to move forward in a timely manner,” said Director of Schools Stanley Bean. Delaying construction could cause the total cost to increase 10-20 percent, annually $5–10 million, due to increased construction costs from tariff regulations and increased interest rates.
“We could get under four percent interest if we get in right now,” Bean projected.
The county finance committee will review the funding request at the Jan. 3 meeting, with a vote by the county commission expected on Jan. 21.
Fifth District Commissioner Johnny Hughes asked the board to consider a proposal by local industry to repair Crow Creek Community Center or build a new facility at the current site. “The building is in bad shape,” Hughes said.
Between $40,000-$60,000 has already been spent in attempts to address the leaking roof, said Sherwood Fire Chief Terry Pack.
Lhoist, a local employer which manufactures crushed stone, wants to repair the building or build a new facility.
“We want to get involved in the community,” said plant manager Don Spanos. Many Lhoist employees are from families who worked in the Sherwood-area crushed stone business for generations.
At issue is the deed to the property, formerly Sherwood Elementary School, which states the premises can be used for “operating a community center and that purpose only” or title to the property will revert back to the Franklin County Board of Education.
Pack proposed the 6- to 7-acre site would also be a good location for a new fire hall. Spanos said he would like to see a storm shelter erected at the site.
“Maybe the deed should be changed before they move forward to give them flexibility,” proposed school board representative Adam Tucker.
Following up on that suggestion, Lhoist attorneys will draft a revision to the deed and present it for review by the county schools’ attorney.
Spanos acknowledged some community members opposed tearing the building down. Lhoist plans to host town hall meetings if the project moves forward to solicit public opinion.
Revisiting the Naming of School Facilities discussion ongoing for the past several months, the board approved a policy formalizing the criteria and circumstances under which school facilities could be named or renamed. A request to name the Franklin County High School band room after former band and choir director Tommy Isbell brought the discussion to the fore.
“When the recommendation was made in August, we didn’t have a policy,” said Assistant Superintendent Linda Foster.
In keeping with the board’s request, Foster adapted the Tennessee School Board facilities naming policy with the added stipulation school system employees cannot be considered for facilities naming recognition until “two years from the last day of employment.”
The board also approved granting tenure to 15 teachers who had satisfied the requirements. Three of the approved teachers had been granted tenure earlier, resigned, and then were reemployed by the school system for the required two year period.
Bean announced the Franklin County Schools had scored well on the state 2018 District Accountability assessment receiving the rank of “advancing,” the second highest indicator. Bean called attention to the number of well-known “prestigious schools” receiving the “advancing” rating.

The board meets next Jan. 14