Lost amid budgetary discussions, dollar figures and rebate chatter at Tuesday’s Frankfort Plant Board meeting was a $15,000 line item that is important in its own right. Board members agreed to set aside the funds to build water bottle filling stations in all Franklin County schools.
Earlier this year, the municipal utility board found itself in hot water after it shied away from committing $6,000 for six such water stations — three apiece — at the two county high schools, even though the cash-strapped school district agreed to handle the purchase and maintenance of the water filters.
The eco-friendly project allows students and staff to refill water bottles from a specialized fountain. In addition to the environmental benefits, the water bottle filling stations provide students with a healthy alternative to soda, coffee and energy drinks.
The idea, which was the brainchild of FCS Superintendent Mark Kopp’s student advisory council, was presented to the FPB board by four students in December with the thought that the plant board would pay for water bottle filling stations in exchange for the opportunity to market its Frankfort On Tap water brand — a win-win for both parties.
At the time, 57% of the 222 respondents in an unscientific State-Journal.com poll said that FPB should cover the cost of new water fountains and bottle filling stations at Western Hills and Franklin County high schools. Twenty-three percent thought FCS should cover the cost and 19% said FPB and FCS should go halfsies.
In April, Kopp announced that the project did not receive FPB funding and that the district went ahead and footed the bill with the assistance of donations from private citizens and local businesses.
It the two months since that decision, FPB directors have done an about-face, and we commend them for it. Changing a stance on an issue is never easy, especially when it involves a multi-member voting board. In this case, FPB eventually made the right call.