Dan Brandt was present at the Marshall-Saline Development Corporation board meeting Tuesday morning, Oct. 13, to discuss the bond issue for a new public school in Marshall.
He and Wayne Crawford, who are both members of a citizens' group in favor of the bond issue, plan to make a total of 30 presentations to different groups around Marshall over the coming month.
The biggest issue showing necessity for this new school, said Brandt, is space.
He said each of the elementary schools was built to hold approximately 150 students, and among the four, they currently hold 917 students, about half again as many as the designers intended.
Brandt also spoke about the history of Marshall School District's efforts to build a new school, saying that six years ago, the estimated cost for what was basically the same building was only $12 million, compared to the currently projected $19 million.
Missouri has been allocated $144 million in federal stimulus funds to build new schools, said Brandt. Currently, 33 Missouri school districts are seeking a bond issue to construct a new building, but Brandt estimated that as few as half of those could actually have the bond issue passed by voters. He said he hopes for $6 million in federal stimulus funds, but added that more might be allocated to Marshall's building.
MSDC Executive Director Roy Hunter asked Brandt how long a new building would take care of the school district's needs, and Brandt responded, "I can't speak for the school board, but they would really like to get this done and get the debt service paid off, and then come back and get those grades, kindergarten through two or something like that, because we've still got old schools."
When asked about increase in property taxes, Brandt estimated that the owner of a home valued at $150,000 would pay an extra $11 per month in taxes due to this bond issue.
The discussion ended with Jene Crook asking, "Will people for it vote?" Because it is the only issue on November's ballot, she said, certainly, those opposed to the bond issue would show up to vote, but asked Brandt whether he was addressing the groups that will be in favor of the issue to explain the importance that they, too, cast their votes.
In other news, said Hunter, Saline County is in the running for a project referred to as Project Atlas, a state project requiring acreage with utilities within 70 miles of Kansas City. No timeframe has been set for the next announcement.
Hunter reported that MSDC has been in contact with a small manufacturer from Iowa seeking to expand operations and looking at west-central Missouri as the site for those expansions. MSDC has submitted two sites for consideration, Hunter said.
Hunter mentioned a new project, called Project Scorpion. He is unable to discuss many specifics of the project, but he called it "really, really cool," and added it "involves a new scientific breakthrough and is capable of providing 50 to 75 immediate jobs and has the potential for rapid growth."
Board members discussed the need for a new board member, because Susan Pointer recently resigned her position with the board.
The board approved a $5,000 donation to Central Missouri Economic Development Association. This donation was built in to MSDC's marketing budget, said Hunter.
"State projects all go through the region," Hunter explained, not directly to him, so it is valuable for MSDC to have this partnership.
AmeriCorps VISTA Josh King marked his final board meeting as VISTA for MSDC, but Hunter said he was "trying to work a way to keep him for a while."