Elementary School In Franklin May Not Be Standing Much Longer

Elementary School In Franklin May Not Be Standing Much Longer

Olivia Reagan, Writer

One of Franklin’s oldest schools, Davis Thayer Elementary School, could be closing due to safety and enrollment concerns. 

The news of Davis Thayer Elementary School possibly closing has sparked controversy throughout the school’s community. This idea was proposed by superintendent Sara Ahearn at the school board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

At the meeting, Ahearn revealed that the enrollment in Franklin is down 1,000 students from ten years ago. The superintendent also noted that with 227 students, Davis Thayer has the least number of kids compared to the other four schools. These four schools have 339-362 students each, more than 100 greater than Davis Thayer.

In addition to the enrollment issues, there are also safety and security concerns. Davis Thayer, built in 1924, is an old building that lacks modern security and safety features. 

Freshman Katherine Kurtz, 2016 graduate of Davis Thayer, says that the school was very run down and out of date. She gave examples of carpeted bathrooms, broken appliances, awful wifi, no air conditioning, the playground being located in the parking lot, and the list goes on. 

When asked if any of these problems were fixable in the current building, Kurtz said that she believes the school is just too small and run down to update the current space.

Currently, the School Board is looking into hiring a consultant to oversee the study but hasn’t hired anyone yet due to uncertainty about pricing. The consultant would help figure out the population projection, mobility, and movement around the town if the school was closed.

Kurtz said that she believes the school closing is a good thing. She has visited the school since she graduated in 2016 and said that the conditions have gotten even worse. 

The School Board announced that they are planning to be inclusive of the whole community during this decision. They recognize that this is not a simple decision and they want to make sure that everyone in the community is able to cope with the changes if the school is closed. This is not going to be a quick decision either. The school board is planning on conducting a slow and thoughtful study, one that may even take years.

Several follow up meetings from the initial board meeting were held, but no new information was shared. Many factors need to be considered to make this decision, so families do not need to worry about changes just yet.