The Franklin Public Schools district leadership and school board, in an effort to meet our vision of being PART OF A BETTER COMMUNITY, are sharing details with the community about creating a Community Education & Recreation building and outdoor fields, so we can seek feedback about this project.
The Franklin Public Schools (FPS) district leadership and school board have been honored for over 25 years to run the Community Education & Recreation Department (Rec) through the district. Our Rec Department's goal is to offer opportunities for infants through seniors that involve multiple activities and socialization opportunities. Our biggest challenge in providing these types of programs is lack of space. Currently, the Rec Department manages waitlists and reservations for popular offerings. We are working to approve a Community & Recreation building, including outdoor green space/fields, to be built adjacent to the current ECC District Office.
Rec Department funds circulate through Fund 80 (not our general FPS operating budget). Over the last 15 years, the Rec Department has saved approximately $2.3 million dollars to expand facilities for more offerings, which would allow more citizens access to activities that benefit them physically, socially, and emotionally. In addition to the financial support from Fund 80, we are also looking for the public’s support, including a 2-year impact on tax dollars paid to the city from members of the community that reside within FPS boundaries. Please review this information and provide feedback to our school board members prior to the March 22, 2023 board meeting.
- LIMITED SEATS: Currently, the Rec Department is securing limited enrollment seats in local businesses to provide many of our youth and senior programs that we don't have adequate space for within the district. While we fully value the partnerships with these organizations, these limited spots leave us with long wait lists for community members. In addition, most of our current classes held within district facilities also have waiting lists. Building our own center will alleviate many enrollment issues and provide more programming opportunities.
- INDOOR SPACE: We are unable to provide adequate programming during the school day as our schools are utilized for learning and our district safety plans limit outside visitors during school hours. The expanded facility will allow for more residents to participate in our most popular classes and class sizes would be able to be increased. In addition, programming would be allowed during the day for all citizens and not constricted by school times. In 2018, we conducted a community wide needs assessment where the community identified programs and preferences around classes and when they would be offered. This facility and program expansion would meet those needs, including the ability to offer senior programming during weekdays, which was identified as a top rated request.
- OUTDOOR SPACE: Currently, FHS Athletics and Rec Department activities share the same green space. In addition, we provide green space and gym usage for practices for Franklin area youth offerings that feed into our school programs. These activities are expanding each year which impacts the amount of space we have left to offer programming for the community. The addition of outdoor field and activity spaces will allow us to expand and fulfill wait lists while offering new opportunities that we haven't had the space for.
The Community & Education Recreation Department in Franklin resides under the operation of Franklin Public Schools, and therefore so does managing the funds for recreation (Fund 80). Funding for recreation and activities does not have the same requirements as does general education, nor is it subject to revenue limits. In the State of Wisconsin, local school boards are given authority to levy into recreation as needed and/or deemed necessary to support recreation programming. To support this new facility and green space, we are using an estimated cost of $5 to $6 million, based on estimates from six construction firms. Over the last 15 years, the Community Education & Recreation Department has saved $2.3 million specifically for an expansion project such as this. Therefore, between $2.7 and $3.7 million would need to be levied between the 2023 and 2024 tax years. If you are interested in a more detailed estimate of how this funding breaks down to homes of varying values, please view the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.
The FPS School Board and district leadership are sharing these ideas more broadly with the community to seek feedback before the School Board will again discuss this issue at the March 22, 2023 Board Meeting. The vote in question would be for School Board members to elect to utilize a tax levy in October 2023 and October 2024 to help fund the remainder of this project on top of the $2.3 million Franklin Public Schools will contribute.
Prior to March 22nd, the School Board is asking for FPS taxpayers to share feedback in regards to this project and, for those in support, to also share creative ideas for how these new spaces can be used. We want your help in dreaming and collecting ideas for what this indoor and outdoor facility could be if it were to open in 2025/26. This could include class offerings, athletic opportunities, use of the fields outside, use for studio space, networking areas, etc.
The FPS School Board and district leadership thanks you for taking the time to read this and to be involved. We hope that we can partner and work together to dream this idea into a reality for all community members to utilize. We will do our best to answer commonly asked questions about this project and proposal below. Please contact the FPS School Board through email here to share feedback.
- 1. What is the history/background of this project?
- 2. What is included in the outside green space area of this project?
- 3. What does it mean to 'levy' for 2 years?
- 4. What are the financial details of this proposal?
- 5. What is the "Clinic Alternate" listed in the plans?
- 6. Are there any wetland or landscaping considerations with this project?