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Debate Over Keeping Community Education Classes at Franklin Tec - KOAM TV 7

Debate Over Keeping Community Education Classes at Franklin Tech

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    Community education classes could go on the chopping block in the Joplin school district but some people are fighting to keep them.

  A high school English teacher told school board members at last night’s meeting that the community education  program is quote “Just another victim of the storm that affected us five years ago. It has held on tenaciously since then through five years of budget and staff cuts.”

Teacher Brendan Cooney told the school board how he's taking guitar classes and learned woodworking all through programs available from community education offered at Franklin Technology Center.

They're programs that could be cut. According to FTC director Dave Rockers, community education has lost one hundred thousand dollars over the last three years forcing staff reductions.

Other classes include how to grow an indoor garden and pie making using the same kitchen facilities where students learn culinary arts.

Those are classes taught by Mende Staggs. She says, “I have seen class numbers dwindle. We've been asked in the program to seek unconventional methods of reaching people."

She's created facebook events but Franklin Tech used to advertise.

Cooney told the board, “The most crippling blow yet came when funding for  its own advertising was cut.  Community ed now relies on word of mouth, unlike  the days when a community mailer was sent two time a year

and no such mailer has been sent in over two years.”

Board Member Jennifer Martucci said, “Again, we stopped advertising. If you don’t let people know you have it,  then they're not going to participate."

The classes were limited during construction of the new high school because space was limited at the temporary Franklin Tech site. So numbers dropped from around one thousand enrollees to now two or three hundred.

Teachers say they're trying to create programs of interest to the community. Recently  one such program that was well attended was ‘How to raise chickens.’

Staggs who taught it says, "People are interested fresh farm eggs from their own chicken.  It’s kind of a trend right now, I guess."

They’re classes that could tap into someone’s passion, like cake decorating or do even more.

Staggs says, “Maybe somebody didn’t know they had a hidden talent. It’s   something that can go ahead and lead on into a career later even."

    Staggs next chicken raising class begins Thursday night.

  Martucci says the programs are a way to give back to the community which supports the school with tax dollars.

     Rockers told the board eliminating classes could happen over a two to three year period but he welcomed suggestions for a way to review the situation.

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