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Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017

Feb. 1, 2017

Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2017, at 12:33 PM

Happy 2017 to Marshall and all Owls everywhere.

Three individuals registered as candidates for the MPS Board of Education: Brad Guthrey, Tim Schulte, and Kathy Green. Since there were three vacancies and three candidates for board seats, an April election is not required and will save the district about $11,000. We say good-bye and express gratitude to Jeff Hemeyer and his work as board member.

Last summer, a hail storm caused significant damage to the roofs of Marshall High School and the Saline County Career Center. Our insurance has deemed the roofs too old to be eligible for coverage. As a result, money we had tagged for removal of trailers has been redirected to these urgent repairs. Along with these roofs, replacement of the heating and air conditioning systems at the high school can no longer be postponed.

As it often happens in life, urgent needs must take precedence. It is our hope that taxpayers understand our position and support our decision to borrow money for repair and/or upgrades of current district facilities. Yearly payments will equal approximately $600,000. The 10-year revenue we receive from our tax levy will pay for the 10-year bank note we will reimburse. Plans are to address upgrades to the Spainhower School and the probable replacement of the middle school roof.

Work on the MHS roof and HVAC units are to begin mid-April and be completed by Aug. 11. The first day of school will be Aug. 16, and we will be on a demanding schedule to finish before the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Dr. Lorenz and I gave a "State of the School" address on Jan. 4 to faculty, staf and media to update information on issues impacting MPS. One item was the status of the Spainhower School. As explained to the faculty and staff, an agreement between the state and city was to have occurred by the end of 2016 but to date, we have not been provided with information concerning the time frame or the extent of use for the property. As a result, district administration is forced to move forward with planning for the 2017-2018 school year without making plans involving the property, beyond our current use. Any further improvements to Spainhower or movement of students to the building will be delayed another year.

Repair of the high school tennis courts, track and renovation of the girls' locker room were previously on the list of needed projects, and remain on the list to be addressed under the lease purchase.

Marshall High School:

Roof replacement, 1,400,000; HVAC replacement, $930,000; digital controls, $240,000; tennis courts and track repair, $400,000; and girls' locker room, $50,000. Saline County Career Center: roof replacement, $626,000.

Bueker Middle School:

Roof replacement, unknown; removal of trailers, $30,000; Spainhower School: flat roof replacement, $485,000; HVAC replacement, $500,000. Relocate fifth grade and Kindergarten: supplies, materials and equipment, $20,000.

Many improvements have been made to MPS facilities this year. Below is a list of updates:

Marshall High School, Completed:

Digitize AC/heat controls, Baseball field foul poles, Little Theater floor and seats, inspect AC units, roofs and guttering. In progress: repair parking lot, inspect and repair trailer and clean under stadium/repair drainage. Pending: install improved drainage for tennis courts.

SCCC and Industrial Arts, Completed:

Digitize AC/heat controls and inspect AC units, guttering. In progress: inspect and repair trailer. Scheduled for Summer 2017: repair/replace roof and replace AC and heating systems

Bueker Middle School, Completed:

Digitize AC/heat controls, tuck pointing, outside lights, inspect AC units, roofs, and guttering. In progress: inspect and repair trailer. Pending: clean up and fence practice field and purchase/install dishwasher. Scheduled for Summer 2017: remove fifth grade trailers.

Northwest Elementary, Completed:

Replace boilers, digitize AC/heat controls, playground mulch, adjust food service serving line, inspect and repair trailer, inspect AC units, roofs and guttering.

Benton Elementary, Completed:

Replace AC and heat system, digitize AC/heat controls, tuck pointing, playground mulch, adjust food service serving line and remove window AC units. In progress: fix water leaks and inspect and repair trailer.

Eastwood Elementary, Completed:

Nurse's office wall, playground mulch, tuck pointing, inspect AC units, roofs and guttering. In progress: install covered shelters. Pending: reconfigure playground. Scheduled for Summer 2017: remove trailer.

Southeast Elementary, Completed:

Playground mulch, repair damaged fence, tuck pointing, inspect AC units, roofs and guttering, inspect and repair trailer. Pending: install bleachers.

Spainhower School, Completed:

Addition of kitchen and food service area, remove walls and enlarge classrooms.

Total spent year to date from Fund 4 on capital projects: $1,333,430. Current Fund Balance, 16 percent.

The board extended contracts to Terri Porter, Diane Gillaspie and Terry Lorenz during January's meeting. All three were renewed at the 2016-2017 salary amount.

Last year, the district paid $40,000 to rent the Spainhower School. This year we added the Tudor and Guest Houses, along with the four-car garage for $41,106. The rent for the two buildings is $1,106 per year, $553 a year for both, or $46 dollars per month per house.

I encourage the administrative team to widen their knowledge base and not be content to limit themselves to "what we've always done." Often that means turning outward to widen our view and learn from many others about what's good for kids, adults, and learning for everyone. I have attended the ASCD national conference every year and think it's absolutely the best professional development for educational leaders there is. This March, the elementary principals and I are traveling to the ASCD conference in Anaheim, Calif. I am so excited at the prospect of the learning and team building we'll experience. To respect the district's expectations for the funding of this professional development, the district will pay for the conference and lodging but flights and associated costs will be paid by the attendees.

The shortfall for this budget year wasn't as dire as some have predicted, but it is still in the red. The 2017-2018 school year is the one that will be impacted the most. Much depends on if revenue from corporate taxes continues to be reduced, tax refunds continue to be increased, and the economy doesn't grow as much as predicted. Missouri's corporate income tax revenues are down by more than 25 percent through the first half of the budget year. Locally, the result of lower tax revenues and increased refunds can be seen in the adjusted assessed valuation of the Marshall district. After increasing by $5.5 and $3.8 million for the past two years, this year the increase was less than $500,000.

I will learn more about what experts are saying, about what to expect, and we will keep the situation in mind during this spring's budget discussions for MPS. Due to unknown expectations, none of the administrators in the MPS central office are taking a raise for next year. We're hoping that in February economy experts will have better news as we can begin our discussions of the 2017-2018 budget.

Sincerely,

M. Carol Maher, PhD

Marshall Public Schools Superintendent



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