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3 public meetings at schools this week, 3 next week to get input on bond issue

Friday, January 15, 2010

(Photo)
Music teacher Deb Foreman quipped during a tour of Southeast Elementary School in August that she has the biggest office of any teacher in the building. Her desk is tucked into a corner of the school's multipurpose room, which in addition to hosting music classes, serves as gymnasium and auditorium.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

Update Tuesday, Jan. 12: Marshall school district officials and Citizens for the School Bond Committee hosted the tour and informational meeting Monday, the first in a series of meetings that continues at Southeast Elementary School Thursday, Jan. 14, at 6:30 p.m. About 10 people, including school and bond committee representatives, attended the meeting Monday. More information, photos and video clips from the Eastwood tour will be available at www.marshallnews.com soon.

(Photo)
Eastwood Elementary School Principal John Angelhow explains the workings of the school's heating system during a lightly attended tour Monday, Jan. 11.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

The Marshall school board scheduled three public meetings this week to provide information and seek community feedback about the proposed new elementary school project.

A bond issue will be on the April ballot and the board must settle on final ballot language at its Jan. 25 meeting.

(Photo)
A row of computers resides along one wall in the Eastwood school library, relocated there after a small computer lab was converted to classroom space.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
The two specific issues the board and bond issue committee seek community response to are the location of a proposed elementary school and whether to ask voters for permission to build a new school or completely renovate the district's four aging elementary schools.

After making a number of adjustments to the design, the estimated cost of building a new school is about $16 million for a building that would house 600 students in three grades.

The estimated cost of completely renovating the existing buildings, which house about 800 students, is about $20.5 million.

The district's bonding capactiy when it sought voter approval in November 2009 was $20.3 million.

The first meeting will be at Eastwood Elementary School at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11.

The second meeting will be at Southeast Elementary School at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14.

The third meeting will be at Benton Elementary School at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16.

Each meeting will begin in the school's multipurpose room and will include a building tour.

Additional meetings will be held the following week.

--Northwest: Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m.

--Eastwood: Thursday, Jan. 21, at 1 p.m.

--Bueker Middle School: Thursday, Jan. 21, at 5:30 p.m.

Contact Eric Crump at marshalleditor@socket.net

Photo gallery:
www.marshallnews.com/gallery/schooltours...
Related stories:
www.marshallnews.com/topic/mpsdbond09


Comments
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Night sky,

That's what I don't understand. I think neither the current school board or current administration is the one that lost the trust.

I'm wondering if I'm wrong and if not, can the community recognize the need to trust people like Mr. Godsey.

-- Posted by hat full of sky on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 11:55 AM

Well, hat, once you've lost someone's trust and respect, it's really difficult to gain it back.

-- Posted by Night Sky on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 4:46 PM

Oh, and by the way -- I'm not looking for a detailed history lesson on the previous boards. I just want to understand why the current board, led by Mr. Godsey and other people that seem trustworthy, seemed to be viewed suspiciously by members of the community.

-- Posted by hat full of sky on Mon, Jan 18, 2010, at 7:19 AM

Can someone explain the trust issue to me? Not having been raised here but instead charmed by Marshall and moved here, I missed it.

I know there have been a couple of concerns in the past ten years but I have also heard people say "this isn't the same board as the previous ones."

What's the deal? Is there any way the current board can gain the trust?

-- Posted by hat full of sky on Mon, Jan 18, 2010, at 7:17 AM

Sixty,

I have indeed voted yes in every bond issue the school board has put on the ballot. I too am a home owner and small business owner in this community. I served on the community committee that was formed after the failed bond issue in 2002. I have volunteered my time in the effort to pass this latest bond issue. One of the recurring statements I have heard throughout all the years is the issue of trust. As I stated, warranted or not, it is an issue. Some have brought up valid points, others are pretty far fetched, but either way, most people who are opposed to the new school feel that their concerns are not being heard or addressed. I'm simply stating that the same approach that has failed 4 times, such as telling people off on a blog, or snarky remarks at a town hall meeting, isn't going to work any better this time. If it takes reassuring people that someone other than the school board/administration is going to be accountable for how the money is spent, is that really so bad? We need new schools, so let's find out how to get that done instead of bickering about it.

-- Posted by Reader101 on Mon, Jan 18, 2010, at 12:53 AM

Reader101,

Let me see if I have this straight. We elect a school board who we trust to hire administrators. Then you want to have a community oversight committee to ensure the board and administrators are being accountable(nobody seems to trust the school board how would you pick a community committee that would be trusted). I believe this is what is called micro-managing. We should probably then have a second oversight committee to oversee the first committe.

If you don't like the makeup of the school board vote them out, better yet run yourself. These folks don't do this for the money. I believe they are concerned citizens who take time out to help build a strong school district for the children of this community.

So you don't have to ask I am not a school board member or relative of one. I am a home owner and small business owner for 20+ years here in Marshall. I vote in every election and believe we have to trust whoever we vote in and allow them to do the jobs they were elected to do.

I also believe we need to build this new school and it won't be the only one we need. If we had done this correctly we would have started this process 7-8 years ago the first time the bond issues were brought before the voters.

-- Posted by sixty on Sun, Jan 17, 2010, at 7:25 PM

Trust does indeed remain an issue, I think perhaps the biggest issue here. For some reason, warranted or not, the voters in the Marshall School District do not seem to trust the school board and administration to spend money wisely. Perhaps a committment before the vote to have a community oversight committee to ensure the district is accountable in the way money is spent on this project would help? I don't pretend to have the answers, but it's apparent that trying the same approach that hasn't worked 4 times before won't work again. Maybe at these meetings the school board should be asking voters, what can we do to earn your trust?

-- Posted by Reader101 on Sun, Jan 17, 2010, at 3:36 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
Actually, at the meetings I've been to, board members and bond committee members have asked that question each time. I'm still going through my recordings of the meetings this past week, so I don't have specifics at hand, but I think school officials are getting useful feedback and they say they are listening to and considering what the voters want.

Saturday's meeting drew even more people. It was really great to hear people speak about what they want from the school district in order to support the school bond. Here are a few of the comments made at the meeting at Benton.

1. The community wants to hear more from the school board and see that they are out supporting this bond. (School board members have been at every meeting this week -- and last fall.)

2. Residents want more details about the selection process of the architectural firm. (This information has been available since last fall. You can access it through the school district offices or read it in the Democrat News stories from last year.)

3. It was noted that the drawings provided last fall are conceptual drawings. The building will be designed to focus on interior space and not fru-fru external costs.

4. Trust remains an issue.

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Sun, Jan 17, 2010, at 9:37 AM

It's really an attractive notion to preserve the existing schools with renovations.

There are benefits and drawbacks to that option.

A few things to keep in mind when considering renovation:

1. The cost of renovating the old schools is actually more than the cost of building a new one.

2. Even with renovation, the maintenance costs of the old buildings is likely to be higher than the maintenance costs of a new building.

3. Renovating the old building does NOT create new space that is needed for special education classrooms, ESL classrooms, libraries, gyms, and even something as basic as having a cafeteria that will fit the classes so that lunch doesn't have to start at 10:00 am.

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Sat, Jan 16, 2010, at 1:03 PM

What the tours failed to show is above the false celings, go to eastwood and go into the teachers lounge and look above the false celing,( i bet you wouldnt even go in there a 2nd time. southeast look above the celings in the hallway by the lunch room door, ask the teachers about it, the other day water was running down the walls in the hallway at southeast, ask the teachers about the floors in 3 classrooms at southeast, the floors buckeled up and had to be torn out and replaced, Ask the teachers about their celings leaking, eastwood (bad) southeast (bad) This is an ongoing problem, renovate or build? why throw good money into crumpling old schools? what happens in another 10 to 20 years? oh, I know throw more money into the old schools, in the long run i think it will be cheaper on the tax payers if we just build a new school. I dont know how anyone could vote no and sleep good at night once they seen just how bad it really is!

-- Posted by mofireman on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 7:49 PM

CSB

I agree on your points:

1 - our children are worth a quality education?

2 - Marshall is a great place to live?

3 - A great community needs, even deserves, a great school setting.

The above is not contingent on a NEW SCHOOL. Can our kids (and both of my kids are Marshall graduates) have the above without a new school? #1 clearly is not brick and mortar dependent-- look at our kid's test scores---will a new school improve the quality of education given?

Again I will vote 'YES', However, I would like to vote 'YES' for renovation and innovation rather than new construction.

-- Posted by CWilli on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 3:50 PM

What a great meeting we had tonight. Many more people showed up.

And they were good about voicing their opinions and feelings. I love democracy in action!

Here are some of the things brought up tonight:

1. The school district is planning to present details next month about what will be done with the old schools, in the event that a new building is constructed.

2. They will also provide a plan in the event that the old schools are renovated without the construction of a new school

3. Some members of the community want a return to multi-grade schools.

4. Some members of the community prefer the renovation over the new construction even though it will cost more to renovate and build additions that will get all students out of trailers. (This option will also cause more logistical challenges.)

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 9:21 PM

Can we all agree that our children are worth a quality education?

Can we agree that we think Marshall is a great place to live?

A great community needs, even deserves, a great school setting.

The future is resting on it!

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 7:12 PM

retired military,

The school cannot borrow enough money to build all the schools at once. There is a limit on the bonding capacity. That's one of the factors behind the push to start replacing the old schools now--it's going to take a number of years to build our bonding capacity back up to the point where we can replace another school (either K-2 or Bueker). Then it'll be more years to get the last of the bunch replaced.

I'm sure that school officials would love to upgrade everything at once, but that is not an option. It's going to have to be a process of passing multiple bond issues. Otherwise our kids will be stuck in the old, cramped buildings and trailers until they fall apart or who knows when.

--------------------------------------------------

CWilli,

The bond issue did get over 50%. But in order to be passed, it has to be 57%

In the fall I checked newspaper websites from across the state on election night. I found that 25 of 28 districts passed bond issues in the fall. I have no idea if that's all of the bond issues, but that's how many I found online.

Guess which district was one of the only three that couldn't unite themselves enough to pass one?

Here's the info if you're interested. Look how overwhelmingly most of these passed.

Sturgeon-- PASS 86%

Harrisburg-- PASS 81%

North Callaway-- PASS 73%

Russellville-- PASS 77%

St James-- PASS 74%

Springfield-- PASS 65%

KC-Center-- PASS 77%

North Platte-- PASS 57%

Mexico-- PASS 74%

Brunswick-- PASS 90%

Versailles-- FAIL 26% (wanted to build an $8Million Fine Arts building)

Windsor-- PASS 83%

Republic-- PASS 74%

Sparta-- PASS 68%

DeSoto-- PASS 72%

Winfield-- PASS 83%

Hillsboro-- PASS 58%

Riverview Gardens-- PASS 59%

Carl Junction-- PASS 70%

Webb City-- PASS 76%

Pierce City-- FAIL 51%

Independence-- PASS 69%

Rock Port-- PASS 57%

Maysville-- PASS 84%

Stewartsville-- PASS 80%

Trenton-- PASS 74%

St Joseph-- .63 cent levy-- PASS

....all of this is in addition to the double-digit amount of school districts which passed bond issues in the spring of 2009.

-- Posted by fvsol on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 4:52 PM

Town Hall meetings and presentations to organazitions on the School Bond Issue has been successful for less than 50% of the vote. What can be done if school bond proponents go door to door asking for the vote? Then on election day, have a get out to vote campaign.

It is quite clear, those who have said NO 4x's are not and do not want to attend Town Hall meetings. I have votes YES 4x's and I am not planning to attend. AND, will vote yes this time.

Keep on doing what you are doing, youn will keep on getting what you got. As Gentral Lee said ".. even a prudent man has a backup plan".

-- Posted by CWilli on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 3:12 PM

i know some of you just want to say invest in our kids futures i agree with that but sell me on the need for new schools. i do agree with getting the children out of the trailers. i dont agree with us spending the money for a 3 grade school and in 20 years asking us for money to build another school. and then 20 years late asking us for more money. if i am correct the last time this issue was raised that is the responce i got from this comment about voting no on the issue. so see it is not about me voteing no on a new school i am apposed to you asking me for money today and 20 years for more and then 20 years you do it again. i am in favor if we want new schools then build them all at once and not a pice at a time. i would rather spend more money now than do what the proposed plan is. that is my problem a 3 grade school now, a 3 grade school 20 years, and finally 3 grade school 20 years later. see open your eyes and look at the big picture and not what is right in front of you.

i am sorry but this blog is not getting us any where people can say things and everyone else can comment on it. i do believe that everyone needs to go to the meeting and get educated on what is really going on. we can critize eachother for their comments but does it really do any good no. the children are our future but lest be smart about what we are doing with our money and lay everything out on the table so that everyone can make an informed decission.

-- Posted by retired military on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 12:51 PM

Ms.Marple...that is exactly my point. So many people like to sit in the safety of their homes/offices and write up a bunch of negative comments...but few have the courage to go to the meetings. Maybe theyre scared they might actually change their minds!!!

-- Posted by ALM on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 9:32 PM

I'M SO GLAD THE SCHOOL BOARD IS GIVING TOURS. I HOPE IT INCLUDES THE BASEMENTS AND TUNNELS. IF THE PEOPLE THAT HAS NOT MADE UP THEIR MINDS AND THE ONES THAT IS SAYING NO WOULD ATTEND ,IT WOULD BE AN EYE OPENER.

HOWEVER I DON'T BELIEVE THEY HAVE THE GUMPSHUN OR COURAGE TO ATTEND, OTHER WISE THE MEETING PLACES WOULD BE FULL. THEY ARE COMPLAING ABOUT NO BODY SHOWING UP, BUT THE ONES OF US THAT IS GOING TO VOTE YES IS LEAVING SPACE FOR THE DOUBTERS. THEY ARE THE ONES THAT SHOULD BE THERE.

NO I DON'T WANT TO SEE AN INCREASE IN TAXES, I LIVE ON A LIMITED BUDGET, HOWEVER I WANT MY GRAND CHILDREN TO HAVE A GOOD EDUCATION IN A SCHOOL THAT I KNOW IS SAFE, AND I'M WILLING TO SACRAFICE FOR THEM AND OTHERS THAT I DON;T KNOW.

WAKE UP PEOPLE, STOP BEING SO SELFISH

-- Posted by buttons on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 4:43 PM

Eric Crump/Editor

AN increae in one propertyb taxes in 2009 then add another tax on top of that--- how much can we be taxes?

Citizens for the School Bond and School Board members need to develop a campaign around this tax increase and educate the people.

Property managers whose taxes increase, will pass this increase on to renters. Now, rent increases--- see the cyclical effect developing.

Any way, I am voting for the School Bond---hopefully it is the 20.5 mil.

-- Posted by CWilli on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 4:29 PM

"Wouldnt it be fun to rally up a bunch of people who do not support the bill and go to the town hall meetings and challenge the board members to change your minds about it? Come on....."

Have at it, ALM - and good luck. The people who post angry comments here are not interested in showing their faces. All they want to do is complain and whine and when they're done with that they complain and whine some more. Activism in person just ain't their "thing."

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 3:52 PM

Citizens for the School Bond,

Can you tell me if there is a website with all the data about the current school bond? Example: How much will it cost each home owner (per 100k house)? How much will the town lose in government funding if they do not take advantage of the current stimulus bill, by not voting for this in April? Etc, etc.

-- Posted by d3 on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 2:21 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
Ballot language will be on the school board's Jan. 25 meeting agenda. At that point, the board will consider what amount of tax will be necessary for the debt service levy. For the November election, the proposed rate was 80 cents per $100 assessed valuation, but the rate in April could be affected by factors such as which site the board chooses and whether it opts to propose a new building or renovation of existing buildings.

Wouldnt it be fun to rally up a bunch of people who do not support the bill and go to the town hall meetings and challenge the board members to change your minds about it? Come on.....

-- Posted by ALM on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 9:36 AM

Citizens for the School Bond

It appears there is NOT a town hall meeting scheduled on the side of Marshall where the most NO votes are coming from.

May want to consider the northside and what they have to say. So far, the northside has said NO. Could it be they need more infornmation to change their NO vote to YES.

All so suggest Citizens for the School Bond and Board go door to door and ASK for the vote--- then on election "Get the SOULS to the POLLS" by any measns necessary. Going to groups where you know you will be well received has not produced a sufficient YES vote to pass either bond issue.

-- Posted by CWilli on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 8:32 AM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
There is a meeting scheduled at Northwest school Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m.

Also, bond committee members did go door-to-door one Saturday shortly before the November election.

tito,

The purpose of the meetings are to hear from both sides of the school bond.

So what are your reservations about the bond? Perhaps you can come to a meeting and let us know.

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 7:17 AM

Mmmmm...ONLY 8 people showed up to the first meeting? That should give the proactive people wanting a new school to see how many people really find this issue important? 1 Superintendent, 1 Assistant Superintendent + Asst Supt. wifey is an employee, 4 Elementary Principals, 2 Bueker administrators, 2 or 3 HS administrators, how many teachers plus special services (OT, PT, Speech)employed with Marshall Public Schools? Plus faculty (Nurses, Lunch people, custodial staff, bus drivers, etc.) I guess the employess of the district did not also find it important enough to attend. Good Luck at the Polls!

-- Posted by Tito on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 10:08 PM

CWilli,

Some of the Kansas City schools closed this past week BECAUSE their children primarily walk to school. Regardless of the proximity of the school, the extreme wind chills last week would have prevented walking.

Rare and extreme weather situations really don't bear on the proposed bond.

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 8:39 PM

The first meeting was held tonight. Eight people attended and of those, only three were not either with the school system or the bond committee.

Where are you, aikman8?

Where are you, retired military?

We want to hear from you in person.

We hope more people who have questions and concerns will come to future meetings. We heard good input from a critic of the proposed bond tonight and would like more information from both sides.

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 8:35 PM

I voted in favor of the Bond Issue 4 times. And 4 times, the majority of the voters on the Bond Issue said NO. 'No' voters have attended these town hall meetings. Are they being heard????

You hear them at the polls, is anyone listing at the Town Halls.

I support the renovation plan ($20.5 Million) The weather of this past week is an example of why a school for the 3 grades is not feasible. Kids now can walk to school if it is snow and ice--- are we asking 3-4-5th graders who live on the north side of town to walk to the south side to attend school? If there is busing to eliminate the walking of these students, is that included in the budget or will be included in the budget.

-- Posted by CWilli on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 4:06 PM

So glad our "progressive" community can build new buildings to hold... old airplanes, new 911 dispatchers, ambulances, and exercise equipment...but can't give our children up-to-date, state-of the art facilities. We need to do all we can to help our children learn to be citizens of the 21st CENTURY (not the 20th century). Those of you who are against this bond issue- fine...but these same children will someday be taking care of you- as police officers, firemen, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and yes, teachers. Don't you want them to be the BEST they can be- or do you want them to do JUST GOOD ENOUGH TO GET BY? That's what you are asking of them now- they may do the same for you someday, too!

-- Posted by time2getaclue on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 2:53 PM

Aikman8: why should opponents of the school bond issued have to be searched out? Seems to me that if they really opposed the bond issue and had real issues, maybe the opponents would show up at one of the many, many public meetings and speak up. THEN their concerns could perhaps be addressed. Time and time again these meetings have been scheduled and only supporters show up. No doubt this will happen again. Our children deserve better!

-- Posted by OldOwl on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 12:12 PM

MU Grad .... Hear, hear!

-- Posted by ALM on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 11:25 AM

I am sure the military could fight a war with old weapons and old technology. It takes more than heart to fight a war. Times have changed in education also. If the youth want jobs that will pay well and not be lost to foreign nations--they need the best we can offer. Everyone has upgraded something in their life: cell phone, big tv, internet, fuel efficient car. Invest in our young people.

-- Posted by mu-grad on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 11:14 AM

i am not in favor of the location or the price. we have enough problem with the traffic at becker and now you want to put a school out on 65 and spend 9,000 dollars an acre. come on we can do better than that. i believe that it is a good idea to build new schools but we have to look at both sides of the coin is a new school worth the money or would the money that we have been given and asking for be better spent on developing the already exsiting building. i know we have to invest in the childrens future cause they are our future but the structures of the buildings are sound. not sure what the right answer is but i dont believe that spending 250,000 dollars on land to build a 3 grade school is worth it. does the teachers need smart board technology to teach school with no with board with dry earse markers are fine. do the students need computers that i believe is a fact. i know there are alot of nice to have items for teaching but in reality teaching comes from the heart and passion to do it. i am still going to vote no on the bill.

-- Posted by retired military on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 8:04 AM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
Just to clarify: The choice of site for the proposed new school is open again. The previously selected site you mention is one of three now being considered. The board is asking the community to provide input on which to choose.

maybe this time crawford/noah and co. will come out of their bubble and will search out others who don't agree with them and actually get both sides of the argument, instead of later both saying (on radio, election night) they held meetings like this and didn't hear a single negative opinion about anything, that they were surprised by this on election night, like happened last fall.

-- Posted by aikman8 on Sun, Jan 10, 2010, at 8:31 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
Noah and members of the school board attended each public meeting last fall.


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