Franklin Co. School Board Votes To Consolidate Middle Schools

By Mike Perleberg (Brookville, Ind.) - All 7th and 8th grade students at Mt. Carmel and Laurel schools will be relocated next fall. After months of meetings and reviewing data, the Franklin County Community Schools Board of Trustees voted 5-1 on Monday evening to consolidate all the district’s middle school students to Brookville Middle School. The change will take effect with the start of the 2017-2018 school year. In addition to classes, all 7th and 8th grade athletics and extracurricular activities at Franklin County Community Schools will be consolidated to Brookville Middle School. The shift also means changes for some of the district’s students in lower grades. Brookville Middle School’s fifth graders will be housed at Brookville Elementary starting next school year, but BMS 6th grade students will remain in the same building. FCCSC Superintendent Dr. Debbie Howell said she will be assembling a transition team to address topics associated with the middle school changes, including master schedule and course offerings, transportation, athletics, and more. “The Board and the Public may expect an update at each monthly board meeting.  Updates will also be posted on the corporation's website.  In addition, the Administration will be working closely with the Franklin County Education Association to discuss teacher assignments, class sizes, curriculum, safety, etc.,” Howell stated in an email Monday following the board meeting. In addition to disparities in the curricular offerings at the middle schools, a decrease in enrollment, and thus funding, has been cited as the reason for the change. Enrollment district-wide has fallen from 2,939 in 2005-2006 to 2,451 this school year – a loss of about 488 students, according to data from the school corporation. That student loss translates to a $2.48 million hit in basic grant funding over that 12-year period. The district could lose another 330 students and nearly $2 million more in basic grant funding over the next 13 years based on projected decreases in enrollment. “Franklin County is experiencing much the same dilemma that other communities are facing, which is the out migration of young working age population between the primary working ages of 18-30,” a consulting group informed the school district in 2015. Still, some parents have voiced opposition to the change because of the potential for larger class sizes and longer bus rides. RELATED STORIES: Franklin Co. One Vote Away From Middle School Consolidation Franklin Co. Schools Taking Look At Middle School Consolidation Franklin County School Board Sets Meetings To Discuss Enrollment Dip  

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