Parents at Franklin Elementary School are demanding answers from the Elk Grove Unified School District regarding the aging campus many of them say has a lot of environmental and safety hazards.
A community meeting was held at the school Wednesday, where parents expressed their frustrations with the condition of the school building.
“The school is great, there’s no problem with the staff, but safety is a big huge issue for me,” said Eliza Crocker, who was waiting to pick up her sixth-grade son.
District officials say the school was built in 1955, and was modernized in 1994. Some of the problems parents have are the lack of sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike paths.
Crocker arrived at the school 30 minutes before her son got out so that she wouldn’t be stuck in a long line to get out of the campus.
“My child has one more year here, and I’ve been waiting for that year to be over with so we don’t have this issue anymore.”
Heather Umiker told ABC10 Franklin Elementary is a "no walk school."
“Because there are no sidewalks, our traffic is more than twice as much because they can't ride bikes or walks – at least not safely," Umiker said.
Another parent said overcrowding is another issue they’ve dealt with for several years.
“Every principal we’ve had has tried really hard to make it as safe as they possibly can, but it doesn’t matter. The community has outgrown the school,” said Candi Thomas.
Others said they had concerns about arsenic in the water.
EGUSD’s Director of Communications, Xanthi Pinkerton, told ABC10 that is one of the misconceptions officials plan to clear up at Wednesday’s meeting.
“The water at Franklin Elementary School is 100% safe. It’s tested regularly,” Pinkerton said.
Pinkerton says one of the upgrades that’s been made at the school is a new water treatment facility.
“It is based on well water, but a lot of work has gone into the school to make sure the water is safe,” Pinkerton adds.
According to district officials, it would take 10 years to complete all the upgrades the school needs, which is why they are not considering repairing the current campus as an option.
“We have already submitted the project to be built as a new construction school,” Pinkerton explained. “It has already gone through the California Department of Education process. It’s already gone through a lot of the prework that needs to happen before any funds can be allocated.”
However, the district cannot say when construction for the new school can begin.
“We are waiting on being reimbursed for $35 million (from the state) for new school projects that have already been completed that we pre-funded,” Pinkerton said.
Pinkerton told ABC10 the district anticipates receiving that money when the state budget is released at the end of June.
“Once we get those reimbursements back, we will be able to put together a better timeline," Pinkerton said.
The EGUSD is encouraging parents to write to their state legislators to take action so that schools like Franklin Elementary are replaced soon.
“The most important thing that parents can do is to advocate for the bonds to get sold faster, so the state actually gets the money moving quicker," Pinkerton said.
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