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Story Archives: Johnson addresses chamber meeting
|Johnson addresses chamber meeting|
Franklin Parish Schools Supt. Dr. Lanny Johnson told members of the Winnsboro-Franklin Chamber of Commerce that adjustments to school renovation plans were required due to the high cost of construction.
Johnson was the guest speaker at Thursday's regular monthly meeting. It was held at the library Learning Center.
"We're doing it in the highest building cost era in the United States," Johnson said. "But we will take the hand that is dealt to us."
A new roof has already been put on the high school and floor tiles containing asbestos are being removed from the school in Winnsboro. Asbestos abatement will also be done at Crowville School this summer.
"There are little hidden costs," Johnson said of working on a 40-year-old buildings. "We had to pay $10,000 for someone to monitor the air quality during the asbestos removal."
New tiles will be laid after the old ones are removed, and new ceiling tiles installed.
One of the plans scrapped for this year were renovations to the girls and boys locker rooms at Franklin Parish High School. The bid was $700,000.
"We can't do it," he said.
Johnson said a new wing with five classrooms devoted to computer technology and business will be built at the high school.
Changes to the fašade at FPHS and other schools in the parish are on tap and Johnson said it will be about two-and-a-half years until all the construction and renovation projects are completed.
"I think it is going to go a long was in the appearance of each school," he said.
The repackaging of Franklin Parish public schools is one step in attracting qualified teachers to the school district, which Johnson said is challenging since the parish is the third-lowest paying in the state.
"We're competing for a teacher who can make $10,000 more in another parish," he said.
Johnson said he has seen some interest from teachers who once left the Franklin Parish system wanting to return because they no longer want to drive to Monroe, or Richand or Tensas parishes to teach.
Teacher pay is derived from local taxes and state funding. The more taxes devoted to school systems, and thus teacher salaries, the higher the amount of the state contribution. Johnson said parishes that pay higher salaries are those where the people have voted to better fund the school systems through millage or sales tax increases.