Solutions and Next Steps

As mentioned, Franklin Township Community School Corporation has been proactive. In recent years, the school corporation has:

  • Completed a grade reconfiguration that offers academic, safety and logistical advantages while buying FTCSC additional time to identify the best means of reaching a capacity of 1,100 students per grade level.
  • Approved work on an addition to Kitley Intermediate School, scheduled for completion by the 2023-24 school year, will add 12 classrooms, a cafeteria, gymnasium, computer science lab and boost the school’s capacity to 1,500 students.
  • Completed additions to the Junior High, increasing its capacity and adding valuable new learning spaces.

Adding Space without Raising Taxes

Franklin Township’s rapid housing and population growth has resulted in an increased Assessed Valuation. This generates sufficient new tax revenue for FTCSC to take two additional steps toward addressing capacity and facility needs:

  • FTCSC plans to expand Edgewood Intermediate School, with a plan similar to the work already underway at Kitley Intermediate – adding an academic wing, plus a new gym and performing arts space. This project cost is about $13.5 million.
  • In addition, we plan to build a new elementary school – at an estimated cost of $30 to $35 million – to serve the district’s northeast corner and, again, do so under the tax cap.

Initially, before the recent increase in Assessed Valuation, the District expected that these two projects might require voter approval of a referendum.

Work Requiring New Financial Resources

While the increase in Assessed Valuation enables FTCSC to address some facility needs,  the heaviest lift remains and lies beyond the scope of existing financial resources.  At almost 50 years old, Franklin Central High School:

  • needs extensive replacements and upgrades of core mechanical, electrical, plumbing and roofing systems.
  • needs replacement of ceiling and floor tiles, carpeting, fixtures and furniture that are worn, broken or simply have exceeded their useful life.
  • needs expanded classroom and co-curricular space to serve 4,500 students.
  • needs learning spaces that are reconfigured to meet contemporary learning approaches and standards for the 2020’s and beyond, not the 1970’s.
  • Add space to serve students who benefit from an increasing number of options to better prepare them for their future. For instance, Franklin Central has added 28 new courses or opportunities built around 13 Career Pathways in the last two years alone. In addition, FTCSC is offering music, fine arts and other extracurricular opportunities to students at earlier ages, increasing the need for space for these important elements of education.

For additional information on the work needed at the high school, please see this video. The total cost of the high school work is estimated at about $87 million.

In addition, our six elementary schools, while in relatively good shape, need additional work costing an estimated $5.95 million to bring them up to standard. While the list of needs vary from school to work, the list includes:

  • Painting
  • Flooring
  • Sidewalks and curbs
  • Asphalt
  • Playground equipment
  • Casework
  • Fencing
  • HVAC temperature controls

As mentioned, the scope of this work simply lies beyond the District’s existing financial resources, which – on a residential tax bill and per-pupil spending basis – are the lowest in Marion County. For this, the District will need additional community support. FTCSC will in the weeks ahead provide continual updates on the timeline and details of how we propose to upgrade and expand Franklin Central and touch up our elementary schools in ways that will maximize available financial resources, retain the District’s record of academic excellence and continue to make FTCSC a destination spot for young families and source of community pride.

Paying for Essential Facilities Work

As noted earlier, FTCSC consistently achieves academic and co-curricular success despite being one of the lowest funded districts in Indiana. Franklin Township has the lowest residential tax bill in all of Marion County. 

Engineering studies conducted by Skillman, a highly reputable firm, indicate that the work listed above and needed for Franklin Central High School will cost approximately $87 million. Improvements to our six elementary schools listed in a previous section are estimated to total an estimated $9.5 million. The cost of these projects is substantially more than the revenue being generated by Franklin Township’s increasing Assessed Valuation.

Therefore, the Board of Education is considering a plan to ask voters for an increase in property taxes to fund the Franklin Central work and additional, smaller-scale improvements to the District’s elementary schools. This request would be made in the form of a referendum ballot question. While no final decision has been made, the Board could decide to place a referendum question on the May 3, 2022, Primary Election ballot.

The Board is considering asking voters to approve a property tax increase of $0.2099 per $100 of net assessed value, which would be the lowest referendum of any Marion County school district. That’s the equivalent of $15.47 per month for a home with the township median market value of $187,500.

Renderings

Next Steps

The District has been meeting with staff and community members to receive feedback on the proposed plan. The Board could hold public hearings in December to determine a date to hold a referendum.

FTCSC will continue to update the public through this website, direct mail and its public meetings. 

Please direct questions and comments to Kent Pettet, FTCSC Chief Communications and Public Relations Officer: kent.pettet@ftcsc.org or 317.803.5074

(This article updated 10/20/21)