Former teacher Franklin replaces Turner on Meeker board

MEEKER — Iris Franklin is no newcomer to education.
She will bring 20 years of experience as a teacher in her new role as a member of the Meeker School Board.
At a meeting Jan. 6, members voted to have Franklin replace Kai Turner on the school board. Turner resigned his position in November after being elected to the Rio Blanco County Commission.
Franklin will be formally appointed at the board’s next meeting Jan. 20. She’s looking forward to the experience.
“It will be exciting, with the building process with the new (elementary) school,” Franklin said.
She played a role in the district’s successful campaign to approve a $24 million bond issue in last November’s general election. She served as co-chair of a citizens’ committee, along with Margie Joy, Meeker Chamber of Commerce president.
“I hadn’t given it any thought until I worked on the bond issue, which I enjoyed, and then when Kai decided to go ahead and become a commissioner,” Franklin said of her decision to apply.
A former family consumer science teacher, Franklin retired from the school district in 2006. But she has never really left education. She works two days a week as coordinator of the Meeker Center for Colorado Northwestern Community College.
“Meeker has always been so good to support its schools,” Franklin said.
She was one of four candidates who applied for Turner’s position on the school board. The other three were Marnell Bradfield, Billy Goedert and Tawny Halandras.
“We had four very, very good applicants,” said board President Mary Strang. “We felt we couldn’t go wrong with any of them.”
Superintendent Dan Evig said, “It was an excellent group of candidates, just really top notch.”
Also at the meeting, school board members adopted the 2009 general fund budget in the amount of $6,010,138.
“It’s up a little from last year,” Evig said. “We elected to try and keep class sizes smaller, especially at the elementary and middle school. Personnel is what drives the bulk of our budget. Mostly, personnel is where we spend money.”
District officials also met last week with representatives of Neenan Archistruction of Fort Collins, general contractor for the school building project, and Jim West of Vanir Construction Management of Denver, the district’s owner/representative for the project.
“We had two days of meetings (last) week on design questions,” Strang said. ‘We have some things we are in the process of defining. We are looking for ways to save money without cutting costs. Things are definitely on track and on schedule as far as the design process and getting all of the basic things tied down.”
Strang said, “We hope to break ground as early in the spring as we can” on the new elementary school.
“Construction will start as soon as they break ground,” she said.
The new elementary school may not be completed in time for the start of school in the fall of 2010.
“At this point, I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Evig said. “I just think given the schedules, that’s a bit optimistic, but we’ll know more later. With everything we’re going to try to do, it may be the end of semester 2010.”