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01-15-03: Parents consider moving Franklin pupils to different school district
The Daily Standard
    Parents of students at Celina's Franklin Elementary School in Montezuma already are looking for alternatives for when the school closes at the end of the current school year.
    Celina district officials made the announcement of the school closing Monday night as part of a $729,000 budget reduction package approved to meet projected budget deficits due to several recent levy failures.
    But now it appears other districts will have to deal with the fallout of the decision to close the Franklin building. District officials at Coldwater and Marion Local schools told The Daily Standard this morning that they have been fielding telephone calls from distraught parents wondering about education options for their children.
    "We have been fielding numerous calls from parents at Franklin," Coldwater Exempted Village Schools Treasurer Sherry Shaffer said.
    Unfortunately, callers to Coldwater are informed the district does not have open enrollment. Tuition enrollment is available at a cost of more than $2,000 per year.
    "It's been talked about here before but the problem has always been that Coldwater doesn't have the space," Shaffer said.
    A couple of callers even asked about the local housing market in Coldwater, Shaffer said, a sign that some may be considering a permanent move due to the school closure.
    Superintendent Eric Hoffman said even after the district completes a 47,000-square-foot classroom addition in a couple of years, a decision to allow open enrollment must be considered carefully by the school board and administration.
  "It would have to be looked at very closely. There are a lot of factors that figure into it, like our capacity and our populations at the different class levels," Hoffman said.  Hoffman said he expects some of the hubub over the Celina decision to dwindle as people become used to the idea.
    "People are just checking out their options. If I was a parent in that situation, I'd probably be checking out my options, too," he said.
    Marion Local Schools do offer open enrollment and officials there also have been answering calls from concerned Celina parents, a district official said this morning. She could not quantify the number of calls received. Superintendent Andy Smith was not available for comment this morning.
    Secretary Helen Uhlenhake at St. Henry Consolidated Local Schools said she is aware of the swirling controversy over the Franklin school, but said she knows of no calls to that district from Celina parents. She could not rule out, however, the possibility that someone within the district has answered such calls.
    But St. Henry does not offer open enrollment. If a Celina student wanted to transfer there, it would have to be done as a tuition student.
    St. Henry Superintendent Rod Moorman also was unavailable for comment this morning.
    Officials at Immaculate Conception School, a Celina parochial school, could not be reached for comment this morning. One spokeswoman said she was not sure if the school had received any calls from Montezuma-area parents.


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