The buildings currently serving roughly three-fourths of Marshall elementary school students were built more than 80 years ago. Bueker Middle School in downtown Marshall, formerly Marshall High School, has also served educational needs for several decades.
What the local public schools will be like in future generations is the focus of an open forum to be hosted at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, by the Marshall Public School Facility Committee. The forum will be held at Bueker Middle School's Harold L. Lickey Auditorium.
The volunteer committee, the second volunteer committee formed by the school district to assess facility needs and recommend a direction to pursue, has been meeting since September and in recent months has toured all school buildings within the district. A previous facility committee met for approximately a year before recommending the Marshall Board of Education pursue a school bond issue to build an elementary school complex including one school for kindergarten through second grade and another for third through fifth grade. Two attempts at passing the bond issue in 2000 both failed.
Sharon Mills, a member of the committee's public relations subcommittee, said the public forum is not to promote any specific school improvement program but is designed to try to learn about what the community expects from its school system and improvements they would like to see to facilities.
Participants at the forum "will be given the opportunity to share their views on any subject that they think should be considered by the Facility Committee when assessing the facility needs of the school district," said Mills.
Ground rules set up for the forum include signing the sign-in sheet at the door or submitting written comments to be shared by a moderator during the forum. Written comments may be mailed to the Marshall Democrat-News at Open Forum, c/o Marshall Democrat-News, P.O. Box 100, Marshall, MO 65340.
Comment forms have been sent home with Marshall students and Mills said forms in Spanish are also available.
Speakers at the forum are also to select cards to determine the order of presentation. The ground rules agreed on by the committee state that this is intended to "discourage a monopoly of like minds entering together and speaking consecutively, discouraging others from sharing a different opinion."
Each speaker will be allowed five minutes and cordless microphones will be scattered around the audience to allow speakers to choose to stay in their seating area.
The moderator will also enforce other ground rules such as describing acceptable audience participation, allowing speakers to make comments without interference and judgment and submitting additional questions or comments to runners with the microphones.