Clean audit report for Franklin School District

Franklin School Board members received news Monday that the district received a clean opinion in all areas of its annual audit.

“We found everything to be presented fairly, it was a clean opinion across the board,” Joy Strain of McGill, Power, Bell and Associates, LLP told school board members.

The district’s general fund showed an increase of about $1 million from 2018, coming in at $20,834,698.

“This is due partly to timing of the audit,” Strain said.

The district also exceeded its budgeted revenues for 2019 with a total of $33,365,183 and came in below its budgeted expenditures with a total of $32,657,352.

In other business Monday, incoming board member Don Judy brought up several issues he believes the board could tackle in the future.

“I was reading the packet about becoming a board member … it says it’s like you’re hailing a cab and you tell the (cab driver) where you want to go so I started thinking about, from my perspective, where we want to go,” Judy said.

Judy said the recent decision by the board not to renew superintendent Pamela Dye’s contract had piqued his curiosity and confusion.

“The only thing I heard as an explanation was that she’s too nice … does the public want someone who is nice and approachable, or do we want the opposite,” he asked.

Judy then raised concerns about the preparedness and willingness of students to enter the job market and asked if students are being taught the disconnect between employers and the possible legalization of marijuana.

“Even if it’s legal, an employer is not going to let someone walk in and drive a forklift if they’re high. Those two worlds are never going to connect,” Judy said.

Judy also said there is an “epidemic” of young people with no motivation to do a job if they don’t feel they are where they belong.

“There’s no motivation, I’ve seen it,” said Judy. “None of these young people even want to start at the bottom, get their feet wet.”

He then asked if historical events are taught in an applicable way to relate to today’s world and gave the example of protesters who fight under the name of anti-fascism but inherently create it themselves by defacing and destroying public spaces and well-being.

“Benito Mussolini would be very proud of them … if they even know who he is,” Judy said.

In another matter, the board unanimously approved a bundled consent group of several agenda items, one of which was the panel’s previous findings in its annual evaluation of Dye.

The evaluation found her to be distinguished and proficient in all categories, including student growth and achievement, district and financial management and communication and community relations.

The approval comes one month after the board announced its initial findings and, at the same meeting, moved to cut ties with Dye when her contract expires in June.

An official vote not to renew Dye’s contract came in the form of a 5-4 tally against Dye at the panel’s work session last week.

Dye has faced criticism in recent months stemming from a lawsuit filed against the district, Dye and junior/senior high school principal Christina Cohlhepp in May.

The suit alleges Dye and the others named in the lawsuit knew of an inappropriate relationship between former teacher Kyle Askins and a 13-year-old student and failed to take proper action.

Askins was sentenced to up to 20 years in state prison in 2017.