That’s what I said after I found out what the price tag was. I first saw the sign the last week of 2013 High School year as I was dropping my son off for classes and told my wife about it. The electricians were finishing up with their work and the sign brightly wished the kids a Great Summer Vacation.
It didn’t come to mind until I had several conversations with Franklin residents that referred to it as the HUGE - GAUDY sign we had installed at the High School including one person who I will call John. John and I were talking about what would be the cost of such a fine sign such as that. So I volunteered to contact one of the Franklin Board of Education members to find out. But alas, I found out that the expenditure went before the Board as it was an “Operation Expenditure” that was funded by “Donations“.
The School Board member contacted Dr. Steven Patz, Franklin Public Schools Superintendent to give me the answers I sought as she was not aware.
In the email I received from Dr. Patz, I was informed that the sign cost (drum roll please) $53,000 yes I said FIFTY THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS. He further informed me that the sign had been 100% paid for through fund-raising efforts by the High School Athletic Director, Sara Unertl and were tied to the revenue received from the Athletic Department Golf Outings and related donations.
Wow, now I was confused and I told Dr. Patz that I was. I could see how a new sign with upcoming Athletic Department events would be helpful but I asked “Wouldn’t that type of donation go to support our High School athletes rather than a sign?” Which further begged the question, “Who was the decision maker for the purchase of the sign?” Finally I wanted to know “Who gave the orders for it to be built, approved the specifications and finally authorized the spending of the $53,000.00?”
Here was Dr. Patz’s answer (which also went to all the School Board members so they would know if constituents came to them):
The sign was the result of a joint discussion between the Athletic Director (Sara Unertl), Principal (Mike Nowak), Business Manager (Jim Milzer) and Myself (Dr. Steve Patz). I approve the final decision as this is an operational matter that does not go before the board, especially when there is a donation of funds that was dedicated to this project. The sign supports Athletic and co-curricular activities in a significant way in that it promotes athletic events on a daily basis along with other school district events. We have received nothing but positive comments on the sign from community members and believe it adds greatly to our ability to communicate to the public. The request to be built was a district administration supported request and the specifications were coordinated through working with the vendor and addressing our needs to have a highly visible communication tool.
So now you have the story John. Dr. Patz talked it over with the Franklin High School Athletic Director, Franklin High School Principal and his Business Manager that Franklin High School needed a multi-colored video action sign at the entrance of the newly remodeled building. Dr. Patz then authorized the purchase and installation of the sign to the tune of $53 Thousand Dollars.
So simply put, Dr. Steve Patz has autonomous power for spending , while the Board of Education is clueless about how he spends. One could assume they have no clue about what extra’s Dr. Patz has in store for the High School remodel. As Kevin Fisher would say, hold on to your pocket-book we are about to enter the Tax Hell Zone!
Some Further Interesting Reading:
- Regulation of LED signs discussed in Franklin – existing code does not address new sign technology - FranklinNOW January 28, 2013 by Julie Becker
- This is the kind of ridiculous junk we worry about in Franklin - Architectural Review Board considers regulating LED signs in Franklin – Kevin Fischer – FranklinNow.
- UPDATE: This is the kind of ridiculous junk we worry about in Franklin - Architectural Review Board considers regulating LED signs in Franklin – Kevin Fischer – FranklinNow.
- 2ND UPDATE :This is the kind of ridiculous junk we worry about in Franklin - Architectural Review Board considers regulating LED signs in Franklin – Kevin Fischer – FranklinNow.
- The $1.1 million concession stand or, how the Franklin Public School district spends your money - Plans to go ahead on spending $1.1 million dollars on a concessions stand with bathrooms at the High School - Kevin Fischer – FranklinNow.