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|School projects on target|
Construction at Franklin Parish High School is on schedule and making progress, according to Supt. Lanny Johnson.
Members of the Franklin Parish School Board discussed projects under construction for schools in the parish at their regular business meeting Monday.
"Mann Construction is doing a great job," said Johnson, "I've been impressed with how quick they work and the quality of the job they do," said Johnson.
According to Johnson, the second hall at the high school is complete with new flooring and tiles and waiting to be re-stocked with furniture. Crews with Mann Construction are currently working on first and third halls and the office in an effort to have them ready by Aug. 20. The high school cafeteria and other areas have been repainted and the brick walls cleaned. The bus ramp is complete and new walkways will soon be installed. Restroom projects at the elementary school will begin after the principal has chosen tile colors and the materials are shipped.
"The workers will overlay the student parking lot approximately two to three weeks after school begins, said Benton Moore, transportation director, "and they are making good headway with the new drive. The next step will be to put the walkways in place."
The Pupil Progression Plan for the 2008-09 school year has been amended to include a new grading scale. According to the revised plan, a student must earn a test score of 94-100 to receive an "A" or four quality points (4.0).
"It was suggested for a number of reasons that we look at the possibility of dropping the grading scale," said asst. supt. Wiley McClary. "We want to give our students a chance to compete for TOPS scholarship and awards on a scale comparable to other schools in the state."
The grading scale also lowered the minimum for the letter grade "B" to 87-93 points, or three quality points (3.0), and 79-86 for a "C" or two quality points (2.0). The lowest grade for the letter grade "D" is 70, unchanged from last year.
Beginning with freshmen enrolling during the 2008-09 school year, 24 Carnegie units must be earned to graduate, up one unit from last year, stated McClary. Students enrolled prior to the 2008-09 school year, must earn 23 Carnegie Units to graduate.
Board members unanimously approved to adopt the Pupil Progression Plan for the 2008-09 school year.
Due to the rising costs of energy, members of the board unanimously adopted the amended meal prices for the 2007-08 school year. Breakfast for Pre-K-12 grades has been increased from .30 cents to .50 cents; reduced lunches increased from .15 cents to .30 cents, and employees will pay $1.50. Lunch for grades Pre-K - 6 increased from .65 cents to .80 cents; grades 7-12, an increase from .75 cents to $1, and reduced lunches increased from .35 cents to .40 cents; lunch for employees will cost $2.50, an increase of .50 from last year.
LSU Agricultural extension officer Carol Pinnel-Allison reported that 24,000 acres of cotton are planted in Franklin Parish, relatively unchanged from last year. Corn harvests has begun, though no yield projections had been released. Allison also informed board members of the financial burden on area catfish farmers due to the rising cost of feed and energy.
"We have about 4,000 acres of catfish production in the parish," said Allison, "the industry employs about 450 people. Due to feed costs, which are associated with climbing prices in energy, right now they are operating at a loss. We hope we don't lose the industry, but some of these guys are considering getting out of the business or finding an alternate use for the ponds."
Substitute teacher Edith Oliver addressed members of the board on behalf of day-to-day substitute teachers and their responsibilities.
"We essentially serve in the capacity as a teacher, with none of the benefits," said Oliver. She requested that board members revisit the salary schedule for day-to-day substitute at the next agenda meeting set for Aug. 25.