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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Marshall school bond issue reviewed

Friday, October 30, 2009

Marshall Public School District voters will have an opportunity next week to consider whether to authorize the district to finance a new elementary school.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3.

--The primary reason school officials give for building a new school is to relieve overcrowding in existing elementary schools, each of which currently uses one or more trailers as classrooms. Trailers and one annex structure, intended to be temporary homes for classes, have been in use for nearly four decades.

--Another reason the school board gives for building a new school is to begin retiring buildings that are nearly 90 years old and are increasingly difficult and expensive to keep in good repair.

--The new school would house grades three through five, allowing the district to "decommission" one existing elementary school and stop or dramatically reduce the use of trailers as classrooms.

--The school district has a contract, contingent on the results of the election, to purchase 25 acres of land at about $9,000 per acre on the east side of South Odell Avenue just south of Stone Hedge Country Club.

--The school board considered opting for a four-grade school design, but it would have been difficult to get it built within budget, and after receiving input from community members at a series of public meetings, the board decided to build a three-grade school that includes a number of features the public expressed interest in, including a second entrance driveway, bleachers in the gym and lockers for students.

--The school board's long-term plan includes building a second elementary school as soon as the bond is paid down sufficiently. The board's goal is to replace all the district's oldest buildings as soon as possible, although the plan requires voter approval along the way and may take several decades to accomplish. It is possible that once a debt-service levy is established, the district might not have to ask voters for much, if any, tax increase for subsequent projects.

--The issue requires a 4/7 majority to pass.

--If approved, a debt-service levy of 80 cents per $100 assessed valuation would be created (the school district does not currently have a debt-service levy). The tax rate could be less than that, depending on how many other districts in the state pass bond issues. Marshall qualifies for a portion of available federal stimulus money to be used to reduce the interest cost of the bonds.

--Timing. Critics have argued that the current economic recession makes this the wrong time to approve a tax increase. Supporters counter that with interest rates at historic lows and with federal assistance available to lower interest costs, voters will get a better deal than ever. The district estimates it will receive about $6 million in federal interest assistance.

--Revenue from the debt-service levy would be used to pay back $20.3 million in bonds. The bond money can only be used to buy land and build and furnish the new school.

--Three previous bond issues -- November 2000, April 2001 and April 2003 -- failed at the polls. The 2000 and 2001 efforts were nearly identical, asking voters to approve $13 million in bonds to build two new elementary schools to house grades kindergarten through five. The 2003 issue asked for $11.9 million to build one new school and upgrade existing facilities.

--The district's current bonding capacity is $20.3 million, and it is no longer possible, according to architects, to build two three-grade buildings for that amount. Board members have indicated they want to build a structure that will serve the district for many years, as have the current buildings, rather than building a low-cost structure with a shorter lifespan.

--Concerns about traffic congestion near schools is one problem the district hopes to alleviate with a new facility, and steps have been taken in the site design to help reduce the problem. The original design included one entrance driveway. Architects have since added a second driveway. Bus and car traffic will be directed to separate driveways after entering the campus. District officials have said that the number of buses and the number of children riding buses probably will not change much if the new school is built, but the bus routing system will be streamlined and made more efficient.

--Return to multigrade schools is back on the table after parents expressed a desire during public meetings on the bond issue to use the building of the new school as an opportunity to return to some semblance of neighborhood schools. Neighborhood schools as people remember them are not really possible, according to school officials. But the new school would house grades three through five, and the school board has directed Superintendent Craig Noah to study the feasibility of making the remaining elementary schools multigrade schools. Currently, all elementary schools house a single grade plus kindergarten classes. Noah's report is due in March.

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The comment was made that colleges and universities are holding on to their old buildings. Yup, and I also read that tuition had increased 200% over the last few years. I wonder why? They're spending all that money trying to maintain those old buildings or building new ones to replace them!!!

-- Posted by oneofmany on Wed, Nov 4, 2009, at 9:40 PM

Old colleges keep those old buildings for two reasons, because of the prestige they bring to the college & because they have the money to keep them looking and being just like new. Do you think Yale or Harvard has to worry about the cost of new carpet or tile flooring? Do they have to have a town meeting or school board meeting to decide whether or not to spend $50k on new computers for the class rooms? Hell no they don't because they have millions (if not billions)of dollars to spend!

Hey Eric, a good research question for you to investigate...what is Marshall Public Schools (and St. Peters for that matter) yearly budget for facility maintanence & upgrade? Now take that figure and try to see how long it would take to get new carpet, new tile floor, new A/C, new Heating units, Hot water heaters, new roofs, fresh paint, new desk, new computers and all these other things new schools brings. because lets be honest, if you complain of new schools it's because of the money and so even if the deal was to repair the schools for $20million you still would vote no!!

-- Posted by oldschool17 on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 3:25 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
Good suggestion. This doesn't really answer the question, but suggests that maintenance has been a challenge in recent years.

From a story in August 2008:

"On another positive note, Noah noted that the capital projects fund has a balance of $364.43. 'So we're slowly building up that capital fund,' he said. 'We'd like to add a few zeroes there.'"

From a story in March 2009:

"Noah said he was particularly concerned about the lack of money in the capital expenses fund, currently at $314.

'If we have boilers blow up or buses go down, we don't have the money to go out and replace them,' he said. 'I can't tell you how nervous that makes me.'"

This is a simple vote, vote yes if you love kids and want them to have the best you can offer them. If you could care less about kids and want to pocket your own cash for yourself, than by all means vote no. It's your choice!

-- Posted by oldschool17 on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 3:10 PM

I thought about how the old-line colleges and universities have kept their old buildings going over the years. It dawned on me most of the restoration work on them was done with bequeathed money. Some of the old alumni died off and left hugh amounts of money to the institutions. You can see some of that at Missouri Valley. The Georgia Burns complex would be one of them. That is not an old renovated building of course, but an example of rich alumni leaving money to the school.

How many rich Marshall alumni have died off and left hugh amounts of money to the School District? I can't think of any right now. There is obviously much more nostalgia concerning old college buildings than elementary/high school buildings.

To all the old rich Marshall alumni, please remember the school district in your wills. Maybe your name will be put on one of the old buildings.

-- Posted by red dog on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 3:03 PM

JOwnby there are just as many Universities/Colleges that are doing away with old buildings as soon as they get money!

-- Posted by Gal66 on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 12:45 PM

thisguy the plan was to buy all the Vogle land and that is the land your talking about.

Those very RR tracks was the main reason people said they did not want to vote for it also 65 HWY and all the traffic on Miami St.

I will really be shocked if this town is not in the same old buildings in 30 more years!

What a shame........................

-- Posted by Gal66 on Tue, Nov 3, 2009, at 7:43 AM


I looked up some studies a few weeks ago. It doesn't take that much time, if you're truly interested.









And if you think that we should just "fix up" the roof quickly and simply, you haven't taken a look at any of them. One volleyball I went to at BMS had to be stopped regularly because of the dripping. The line judge had to carry a towel with them at all times and mop up the water in between points. Pretty embarrassing for our community.

I can only imagine what it looked like the past few weeks. It was probably a monsoon in there. Who knows what it looks like in all of the other leaky places in that roof.

-- Posted by fvsol on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 9:42 PM

Why then did we decide to spend money on the courthouse? It's old and outdated. Why didn't we just tear it down and build a new one?

-- Posted by What the f...... on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 2:07 PM


I understand your points and I realize they want to phase out the other buildings. I do not agree that the buildings will need to be razed at some point in time. They're all-brick and as I recall, there is little-to-no exterior portion of any building that is not now "maintenance free." Haven't all of the windows and doors been almost all replaced with energy-efficient doors and windows? Perhaps the roofs need attention, but that's a relatively simple thing to do and with the products available now, you can make them long-term fixes.

Throwing good money away is building a new facility and KEEPING the very ones you want to get rid of. Nobody yet has told me in person or in print just want is exactly wrong with the current buildings. Honestly, Bueker appears to be in worse shape than the elementary schools, but we're keeping it, right? This just screams of doing things completely backwards and against common sense.

How do you feel about the economy? Are you just going to disregard it and assume things "will always be fine?" If so, you stand to be sorely mistaken.

In addition, show me the studies that have been done that state new facilities enhance learning. Also, who provided the funding for these studies? Are you disregarding the millions of intelligent and productive people who went to schools in worse disrepair than our elementary schools here? That's just a blanket comment with zero credibility and an insulting one, at that. I do not buy it that kids do better later in life because of the facilities they were educated in. It really begins and ends with the quality of the educators they are exposed to and the effort put in at home.

Furthermore, having an education does not guarantee earning potential and really, NO, I do not expect any of my children to make the kind of money that will allow them to take care of me in old age. That's absurd.

Maybe Marshall should tighten their collective belts and ride out the economic storm upon us. Fix what needs to be fixed and revisit this bond issue when we're in a position to be financially responsible with the taxpayers' money. I think the taxpayers are getting extremely weary of doling out money.

-- Posted by TigerFan1991 on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 12:40 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
District officials have said the problems with the current buildings are not primarily "bricks & mortar" but are mainly things that are not easy to see from the street: outdated electrical, plumbing and heating/AC systems. They say the buildings are overcrowded, too. Expanding two of them was briefly considered, but several school board members argued that it was not an efficient use of money to continue patching things up.

well gal66 if i remember correctly, and i may be mistaken, but the land on the previous issues was located across from hot wheels on the corner...i am talking about all of the land that basically streches from the rr tracks by rose acres to the riback supply building. and if you read my blog you saw that i stated i voted yes on the previous tries. this has nothing to do with money for me, it has to do with just making sure its done right. the logistics of what will be done to 65 to accomodate should already be laid out...our mayor saying they will look into it is ridiculous. who will pay for that?we will and i would just like to see a plan...not an effort-to-be before i vote yes on this

-- Posted by thisguy on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 12:23 PM

The suggestion to spend money renovating the current buildings is just throwing good money away.

Could the life of the buildings be extended for a little while by spending money on them?


Is it inevitable that the buildings need to be replaced?


The school board is trying to be fiscally responsible with the taxpayer's money by ending the cycle of spending money on old buildings and getting the children out of the trailors that have been used for time periods they were not designed for.

Vote yes for the kids on November 3!

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 11:56 AM

Information in a previous post from Eric Crump:

School board members have said they would replace more schools now if they could, but the district can borrow only enough money to build one three-grade school. The board's long range plan is to continue to add new schools until the aging buildings are all retired.

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 11:51 AM

A little curious about a few things:

1) If our current facilities are so sub-par, why are we still maintaining (3) to house the other grades? Everyone in favor of this is so adamant we need a new facility because of the "horrid" conditions of the (3) buildings that will be maintained, but only when it's a justification of wanting something new. I find that to be extremely contradictory to the entire argument. Side note: I've spent time in each building, except SE and yes, they're old and in need of work, but not to the tune of $20 million. It's also a massive waste of money to tear down what's already been remodeled. Put in new window units, fix the roofs, upgrade the boilers, and finish installing energy-efficient windows and doors. I will guarantee you a complete overhaul and continued maintenance will cost you less than 1/20th of the cost of a new facility. So, we will build a new facility and keep old facilities that need upgrades and continued maintenance? Seems extremely illogical to me.

2) Believe it or not, we are possibly entering Great Depression, Number Two. Do we really need to gouge the citizens of Marshall for more money when it is entirely possible that the city and county will continue to tax us more as the tax revenues start to decrease? What happens when jobs are lost or incomes decrease? People stop paying property taxes and personal property taxes to put food on the table. Houses go into foreclosure, sit forever, and no tax revenues are collected. Look at how many States and municipalities are broke nationwide. Watch for tax assessments to continue to climb to justify the debt-service levy. You will hear "...but Marshall has the lowest levy compared to Boonville, Sedalia, etc....." Perhaps, but when you increase assessed values, it's easy to make that argument since you can show how "low" the levy is because you've increased the assessments. It's all "smoke and mirrors" folks and quite frankly, I'd be surprised if the stimulus money is even issued, given the current disastrous economic state of our Federal Government. You may laugh, but it is a very valid possibility.

If we were enjoying economic prosperity currently and had a comprehensive plan to house K-8 within one large campus, then I would be all for it. As it stands, we are entering dark days, financially, and it seems utterly ridiculous to tax us more to do nothing but essentially get rid of (1) current facility simply because we need something "shiny and new." Those buildings have character and history. Spend the money to upgrade them and add to them, if necessary. If historic, older buildings are good enough for Ivy League schools, then they should be fine for Marshall, MO.

Personally, I think we need to concentrate more on creating jobs, providing incentives to businesses to locate here, and ensuring our town grows instead of suffering from continued stagnation. If Coreslab and the Hab. Center do indeed close, then a new school is really a colossal waste of money and irrelevant in the whole scope of things.

Consider everything wisely, voters in Marshall!

-- Posted by TigerFan1991 on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 11:28 AM

this guy if you was here when the very land you seem to be talking about was to be the site for the school was voted down you would know that the great people of this town threw a fit about that location also.

If this passes it will be a shock to me I really think that most of the people in this town care about anything but them selves and their pocket books.

I want to say thank you to all the people that have tried to get this bond issue to pass at least their a few people in this OLD town that care.

-- Posted by Gal66 on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 9:01 AM

you know for the first time i totally agree with wtf....i cant believe i said that. If in fact these schools are falling apart and i know they are ive been in them, then why are we building a school to house 3,4 and 5? bueker has grade 5 in it now...why move it from bueker if k-2 will suffer in the same buildings? i have voted yes on the previous tries but i think i might be swaying...is the land they are buying big enough to build a k-2 building later? if not then where will they find the land then? and how will that affect bussing if a new k-2 building is across town? will it make it better? i just don't know what the answer should be, its hard you know, you drive around town and wonder why there is really nothing on the square and why everything moved out and then one more block you see the conglomoration of conagra, smack in the middle of town, closing streets that they should have just been charged with the upkeep on. but we cut them breaks, they threaten to leave...or if you drive out on north miami street then you find corn fields....roughly about 100+ acres of corn fields, in the city limits...but we are forced to swallow a spoonful of ideas that this is the only place to build this school. how bout a city ordinance that prohibits " commercial" farming within the city limits and then we build a school there...i just think that yes this is the right time and yes it has to be done but were all the avenues looked at? i just think that these teachers and activists for this cause have all good intentions, great intention and i commend them for that cause, but it just feels rushed to get it on the ballots and i think they are killing the bill by doing so. one mans opinion, for what its worth

-- Posted by thisguy on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 8:49 AM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
The size of the building, of course, is limited by the amount of money the district can borrow. The school board asked for public input about which grades should be placed in the new school and there was some discussion at one public meeting about the issue. Ultimately 3-5 won the day.

The plan for the next builing, which would most likely house kindergarten through grade two, currently has a similar building placed in the property immediately to the south of the Banks property, where the 3-5 building will go. Nothing is set in stone, but the board has been assured that the current owner is willing to sell it when the time is right.

I figured it would cost me about $10/month. I am more than happy to pay this for my children to have a good school to go to. Heck, if it was $50/month I would still be in favor. This is your kids people! If you don't spend your money on them, then what the heck to you have any for?

-- Posted by mtownresident on Mon, Nov 2, 2009, at 6:49 AM

So, what the f..., you're implying is that low income children are hard to handle. Man, I wish I knew that growing up, evidently I was entitled to more misbehavior because I was poor!!!

This should be a no-brainer here. The schools are in rough shape, and there is a embarrassingly high percentage of students having to attend school in trailers simply because there's no room elsewhere for them. If we want to set high standards for our students and our teachers, we need to supply them with high quality resources. We cannont be surprised if we give them just 'good enough' resources and they don't perfom as we would like them too.

-- Posted by thebirdman on Sun, Nov 1, 2009, at 11:42 PM

What exactly,or specifically has changed so much in society and education that we can no longer have neighborhood schools? Why did they do away with neighborhood in the first place? Was it because maybe one school had more lower income kids than any other? Perhaps maybe these kids were a little harder to deal with so instead of dealing with them they split everything up leveled the playing field throughout the system?

-- Posted by What the f...... on Sun, Nov 1, 2009, at 7:34 PM

Its high time this one horse town actually did something modern like build a new school..

Pay now or pay later..with the possible mandatory closing of some of those schools and higher costs once interest rates go back up later in 2010 or beyond.

Look around..you got your low-cost low income WalMart Supercenter while everything else is hanging by its thumbs around here...Keep going cheap and see where it get you..

For once think with something besides your wallett.

You're not going to get new jobs and more people moving into the community to create a higher income base if you don't have modern schools for families to utilize.

A vote yes to move out of the freakin' Dark Ages..

-- Posted by Hombre on Sun, Nov 1, 2009, at 5:22 PM

The school district is limited on how much money it can spend. Of course more needs to be done. In the future the district plans to build a K-3 building. This is the first step.

-- Posted by mu-grad on Sun, Nov 1, 2009, at 1:58 PM

If the current schools we have are so horrific and falling down around the very heads of these children as to warrant a new school for only certain grades, then why are they good enough to continue to house k-2 for who knows how long?

I woould have no problem spending money on expanding and updating what we have, going back to neighborhood schools and quit bussing kids all over the place. Bussing, it's not very green is it? Can someone in the know tell me exactly why we went away from neighborhood schools in the first place? Vote yes for the kids? Is it really for the kids? I wonder if anyone has bothered to ask the kids?

-- Posted by What the f...... on Sun, Nov 1, 2009, at 7:46 AM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
School board members have said they would replace more schools now if they could, but the district can borrow only enough money to build one three-grade school. The board's long range plan is to continue to add new schools until the aging buildings are all retired. District officials have said neighborhood schools of the past are no longer possible. Education and society have changed. Most kids will be bused or driven by parents in any case. The district is exploring the possibility of making the remaining schools multigrade schools, like the new one will be, but even so, a good deal of busing will be required.

Some people oppose taxes for any reason. It is time to make a commitment to our community and it's children.

-- Posted by oneofmany on Sun, Nov 1, 2009, at 12:29 AM

If this was called an investment, the reaction would be different.

It's like buying a house. We're going to pay for it and it will last many years. After all, some of the existing schools have lasted 100 years.

To look at it another way, if you were told that if you invested $15 per month, your children would have improved earning potential, wouldn't you do it?

There have been numerous studies that show better educational setting translates into a better education, which translates into better earning power as adults.

These adults are going to be the ones caring for us (we hope) in our old age. Don't you want them to be able to make the kind of money that will allow them to do that?

Investing in education is investing in your future, as well as your children's.

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Sat, Oct 31, 2009, at 10:08 AM


-- Posted by 1OFTHEGALS on Sat, Oct 31, 2009, at 7:53 AM

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