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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Marshall school board goes back to voters with amended plan for new school (UPDATE: 11 a.m.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Larry Godsey, center, poses a question to Dick Bartow, bonding consultant, at the Marshall school board meeting Monday, Jan. 25, while the rest of the board and district officials listen. Bartow reiterated the message he gave the board last summer when it was considering putting a bond issue on the November ballot. "Money is cheap," he said, referring to historically low interest rates combined with the possibility of getting federal funding to help offset interest costs.
(Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
The Marshall Board of Education made several decisions at its meeting Monday, Jan. 25, that change the landscape of its facility improvement efforts.

After hearing a report from Wayne Crawford, who facilitated a series of six public meetings to explain several land and facility options and listen to community concerns and suggestions, the board opted to

--place a $16.8 million bond issue on the April ballot that will ask voters to approve a 67-cent debt service levy,

The Marshall school board switched sites after getting community feedback during a series of public meetings, opting to enter into negotiations for a 70-acre tract owned by the Gieringer family. If the bond issue passes in April, the district will build a new school on the site at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Watermill Road.
(Contributed image)
--build a new elementary school for grades three through five if the bond issue passes,

--direct the administration to enter into negotiations to purchase the 70-acre Gieringer tract as the site for the new building and possibly for additional new schools in the future,

--direct the administration to shift from the current single-grade-plus-kindergarten distribution of grades to a multigrade -- kindergarten through second grade -- distribution in the three remaining older elementary buildings if the bond issue passes and after third through fifth grades have been moved to the new school,

--endorse the draft long-range building plan presented by Superintendent Craig Noah that calls for adding another elementary school in about 10 years and address middle school building needs in about 20 years and

--endorse the draft building maintenance plan presented by Noah that sets priorities for major repair projects.

In making those choices, the board heeded Crawford's assessment of what the community wants the district to do to solve the problems of aging, overcrowded schools.

Crawford said that following the failure of the bond issue in November, the fourth such failure in a decade, the board asked him to seek more input from the community about several key issues and to listen carefully to what the people had to say.

He noted that his sample was small -- about 200 people attended the six public meetings -- but among those who attended and expressed views, there was a clear preference on several issues.

Citizens preferred the Gieringer property as a site for future schools over two other sites under consideration. The site was favored, he said, primarily because it is not located on a busy road and because it includes enough land to build one or two additional schools.

Results of a recent unscientific poll on The Marshall Democrat-News Web site were consistent with Crawford's findings. Of 372 votes cast, 46.2 percent favored the Gieringer property. "None of the above" was next, with 25.5 percent. The Banks and Gaba properties combined for 19.3 percent of the vote.

Citizens also strongly favored the return to multigrade schools, he said. That's an option members of the school board expressed deep reservations about, but ultimately decided unanimously to support.

The current MDN Web poll on the subject also corresponds to Crawford's assessment. Of 240 votes cast as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, 62.9 percent favor multigrade schools over the current hybrid system that has all first, second, third and fourth grade students at separate schools, with kindergarteners located at each of four schools.

As board member Teri Wright observed during one of the public meetings and Anita Wright (no relation to Teri) noted at the meeting Monday, the district's long range plan, if implemented in its current form, will solve the problem within about a decade.

By then, the district hopes to build a second new elementary school for pre-kindergarten through second grades, making all Marshall schools multigrade schools.

Board members expressed reservations about the move to multigrade schools based mainly on two factors.

Anita Wright said she is concerned that advocates of neighborhood schools may not realize that multigrade schools are not exactly what they seek.

District officials have noted frequently during public meetings that education and society have changed since neighborhood schools were common, and there is no possibility of returning to the practices of that time.

Demographic shifts, which were a primary reason for abandoning the neighborhood school model, remain a problem.

If the district tried to go back to neighborhood schools, Crawford noted, one school might have too few students while another would have too many.

Busing, which neighborhood school advocates have said they would like to see reduced or eliminated in town, would still be required in order to even out student populations and blend students according to categories like gender, academic achievement, economic background, etc.

Another concern among board members was the effect multigrade schools would have on teacher collaboration, which is a practice the faculty values in its efforts to improve student achievement.

Board member Sherrie Stouffer stressed the importance of having teachers in the same grade working in the same building.

Teri Wright noted that she initially resisted the idea of multigrade schools, but after listening to citizens at the public meetings, had seen merit in the idea and noted that teacher collaboration, though not as convenient, could still be done in a multigrade system.

Another issue Crawford reported on was whether to renovate the four existing elementary schools and build additions on two of them or build a new school. He said there were several strong advocates of renovation, but he also saw strong support for building a new school as a first step toward replacing the old buildings, and he did not detect a clear preference at the public meetings.

A recent MDN poll on the question with 181 votes cast indicated a majority favor building new over renovation, 57.5 percent to 26.5 percent, with 16 percent voting "neither" or "no opinion."

Noah presented the board with a long-range, three-phase facility plan that begins with the construction of the three-grade school proposed as part of the current bond issue.

Phase one also includes removal of the fifth grade annex at Bueker Middle School and elimination of as many classroom trailers as possible.

Phase two would begin in about 2020, depending on bonding capacity at the time, and would include a no-tax-increase bond issue to finance the construction of a new pre-kindergarten through second grade school at the same site as the grade three through five school, would close Southeast and Benton schools and explore new purposes for Northwest school, which is expected to have more life in it at that point.

Phase three would begin about 2030, and would include a no-tax-increase bond issue to construct a new middle school, possibly at the same location as the elementary schools.

Board member Kathy Green expressed support for the goals of renovation advocates who cherish the history and architecture of the old schools and said she hopes all of them, as they are retired from service, will be purchased and put to new uses so they can remain part of the community.

The buildings have outlived their usefulness as schools, she said, but they may still have some life left in them.

But while the district still needs those buildings for classes, life-support will be needed, and Noah presented the board with a facility maintenance plan that prioritizes projects needed for the next four years.

He said the plan is intended to move the district away from being primarily reactionary in its approach to maintenance.

"You rarely see someone replace a roof before it leaks, but we know the age of those roofs. There's no point in waiting," he said. "Even if it's bad financial times and it's not going to be pretty, you've still got to do it.

"You'd like to put money in the bank, build reserves, but this is more important," he added. "You've got to have a good environment for kids."

Anita Wright said she hopes the plan will show the community that the district is doing its best to take care of its facilities, including the older ones.

Topping the list in terms of priority and cost for 2010 is replacing the roof and doing brick repair at Bueker Middle School, where water leaks are rampant.

On a public tour of the building last week, Principal Lance Tobin pointed out a number of places where buckets were needed to catch water and places where ceiling tiles were removed because of water damage.

Noah said the cost of the BMS roof project could exceed $300,000 and might be more than double the district's entire facility improvement budget for the past year.

Although the plan emphasizes building maintenance projects, Noah stressed the need to make regular transportation and technology purchases, too.

He said the temptation to skip buying buses, for instance, can backfire because there might come a point when suddenly a number of buses need to be replaced at once, putting a real strain on the budget.

Contact Eric Crump at marshalleditor@socket.net

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Are there any studies on the internet or anywhere that evaluate the effect on children that go to a single grade schools as Marshall has had in the 4 elementary schools for the past 18/19 years?

-- Posted by izaak on Sun, Jan 31, 2010, at 10:24 PM

There you have in a nutshell. Hickory (and others like him) prefer to hold onto their flawed reasoning and the need to lash out at past administrations rather than admit that their no vote is punishing children who only want to learn.

There will always be people who vote no despite overwhelming evidence that a yes vote is needed. That's their right.

Arguing with them is futile.

-- Posted by hat full of sky on Fri, Jan 29, 2010, at 7:27 AM


There have been lots of studies showing the relationship between student achievement and the educational setting.

It takes about 10 minutes to look up on the internet. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it's a good start. Take the time to educate yourself on the issues.









-- Posted by fvsol on Fri, Jan 29, 2010, at 1:38 AM

anybody else think hickory sounds a lot like jownby?

-- Posted by hat full of sky on Thu, Jan 28, 2010, at 8:15 PM

One great thing about this country is that it's your right to vote no.

It's also great that I have the right to say that your reasoning is flawed and your philosophy is one that I disdain.

-- Posted by hat full of sky on Thu, Jan 28, 2010, at 7:25 PM


By all means, let's punish the children because you were "done wrong."

Does cutting off your nose to spite your face make you look attractive?

-- Posted by hat full of sky on Thu, Jan 28, 2010, at 5:45 PM

How long in years has it been since the class sizes for the schools were the appropriate size? Will this rise in numbers of students be sustained for a long period of time or are we going through a cycle. How much has the overall population of Marhshall gone up in the past 20 or 30 years?

-- Posted by What the f...... on Thu, Jan 28, 2010, at 12:55 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
Craig Noah has said total number of students in the district has been fairly stable for at least 15 years. Overcrowding apparently has been a problem for several decades, however. Wayne Crawford said during recent public meetings that the elementary schools were designed for about 125 students. Each now houses more than 200. Temporary trailers began to be added about 40 years ago.


Even if the renovation was scaled back to match the cost of building a new school, the buildings are holding almost double the number of students they were designed for.

Renovating doesn't solve the overcrowding problem.

The children need a better educational environment.

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 5:28 PM


Please tell me where you find that Marshall has 78% of its kids which qualify for free/reduced lunch. It's 54.3% this year.


That's less than Sedalia (61.6%), with its new school. It's also less than conference school Moberly (58.6%), and comparable to others: Hannibal (53.0), Mexico (50.7).

Granted, all of the buildings in the district have a substantially higher percentage than 54%. The high school drags our overall percentage down, as it's only 37%. However, one could assume this happens in the majority of districts, so it balances out.

MHS 37%

BMS 56%

Northwest 66%

Eastwood 60%

Southeast 66%

Benton 74%

And I think that the summer school program provides lunches to anyone in the district regardless of their enrollment in summer school, so your "starve all summer" comment may not be accurate either.

-- Posted by fvsol on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 4:27 PM

Have you seen the beautiful schools Coreslab (a business right here in Marshall) builds. I'm sad we aren't doing business locally.

-- Posted by Pasta on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 3:21 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
The school board made it clear during interviews with construction management firms that it expects the new school projects to be designed whenever possible so local contractors can bid if they choose. The exterior of the building will be precast concrete, according to the architects, making it quite possible for Coreslab to provide materials if the company chooses to bid.

The $20.5 mil to make the schools like new is not a valid comparison! Not all of the buildings need new roofs, new windows, new floors....etc. The $20.5 estimate was to basically gut the buildings. An estimate was never done of what the buildings actually need. Back out all of the padded cost and there would be more than enough for the needed additions.

-- Posted by windowview on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 1:43 PM


In order for the buildings to be renovated so that they are like new would cost $20.5 million dollars. That's more than the proposed $16.8 million for a new school.

Even if the old buildings were renovated, it still doesn't address the crowding issue -- those buildings were designed to house 125-150 students and are now home to over 200 students. Some of the special classes take place in the hallway. The nurse's room at Southeast is only big enough for the nurse -- the bed that the sick child rests on is out in the hallway.

The children need more room.

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 1:07 PM

I'll vote for any well planned bond if.......... it's paid for with a special sales tax with a sunset clause on it.

-- Posted by waterman7622 on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 12:11 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
School districts are not allowed to levy sales tax.

The "old" buildings have more structural integrity than anything we will build today. The locations are right and the school sizes are appropriate. All of our buildings could be brought up to date, and expanded to accomadate our needs with the amount of money that will be spent on one building. If it doesn't pass this time will the school board consider another bond issue that will renovate our schools? How many times should the public say NO before that option hits the ballot? We want our children in smaller more managable schools. If the bond issue passes, and Eastwood school is retired, I hope that someone buys the building and opens a private school. Then will see if that building has really outlived it's use.

-- Posted by windowview on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 11:29 AM

Isn't there a law that prohibits school systems from having a sales tax?

Citizens for the School Bond

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 11:24 AM


As stated by others here, the cost will be in the ballpark of 52 cents per day IF your property is worth $150,000.

It is highly likely that a person who is accessing free and reduced lunches will experience a lower cost than that. And their children will be in a improved educational setting that allows them to compete with their peers.

Citizens for the School Bond

-- Posted by Citizens for the School Bond on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 11:23 AM

One thing that has always puzzled me about Marshall. You put an issue out there and tie it to a sales tax increase and it passes easily. Tie it to property taxes and it fails, even though the sales tax increase probably costs a person more in a year's time. I think it's because a sales tax is kind of an invisible increase. No one can put an exact number on how much it's gonna cost them, but they can get out their pencils and calculators and figure exactly what the property tax will cost. This then leads to the rising of their blood pressure and ends up with them rushing to the polls to put the big, fat X in the NO box.

-- Posted by outsider on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 10:57 AM

I have to ask cause I didnt see it anywhere I read. When the new school is built for 3-5th grade, what happens to the kindergarten classes in Eastwood and Northwest? The argument (if I understand correctly) is the existing buildings are old and OVERCROWDED. Do we put up another annex or turn one of the "old buildings" that are not any good for schools (but are for other functions) into a kindergarten school? Am I overlooking something or is the school board?

-- Posted by landreth on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 10:54 AM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
The plan calls for removing as many trailers as possible so kindergarten students will be in buildings. Southeast, Benton and Northwest will be K-2 buildings.

So if my math is right and my property is worth say $150,000 that would figure out $190.95 a year, $15.91 a month or .52 cents a day.

So feasible a taxpayer could give up buying a candy bar every day or a bottle of pop or something else of equal value and the new school could be built. Just my opinion but that seems very reasonable if my math was right.

-- Posted by RuralMarshall on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 10:15 AM

I don't know how teachers taught the last 300+ years in this country without all of the classroom aides? Maybe it's because they had control of their classrooms and taught? Now we seem to have an aide for everything...

-- Posted by Gumby on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 9:52 AM

Gumby, the need for aides goes hand in hand with the need for more specialized services for students. As the parent of a special needs child with an IEP and services outside of the mainstream classroom, I am so glad they exist. As recent as 40 - 50 years ago most of the students needing these services would not have attended mainstream public school, if they attended school at all, in fact a majority of they may have been institutionalized at a young age.

Overall I am pleased with the new location and plan to vote yes in April.

-- Posted by STLgirlMarshallMom on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 10:10 AM

I wanted to double-check my figures with someone who knows this stuff before posting examples, but this site includes information about how tax bills are determined:


As I understand it, for residential property, you start with market value and take 19 percent of that to get assessed value. Divide assessed value by 100 and multiply by the levy rate -- in this case, by 0.67.

-- Posted by Eric Crump on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 9:46 AM


can you or editor answer RuralMarshall's question showing the matth for the $.67 tax levy?

-- Posted by CWilli on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 9:32 AM

It is futile to try to change people's minds about the new school. The one's who are adamantly opposed don't want their taxes raised. They will create arguments about there not being a need for new schools, the need to return to neighborhood schools, a poor location site for the new school, and the list goes on and on. Ultimately, however, the biggest reason they don't want a new school is they don't want any more money coming out of their pockets. It's hard to fault people for wanting to hold on to their money during these hard economic times, but I sure wish these people would quit with the negativity and be honest about their objections.

-- Posted by born-n-raised on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 8:47 AM

I know it has been posted in the past...but could someone break down the tax levy of .67 cents to show what a property owner would have to pay. It would be nice to know the break down over a year period, monthly period and what it cost the tax payer if broken down on daily rate. If I remember it was quite reasonably as far as taxes go.

It would be nice to see some kind of inflation report as to what it would cost to build the school in say 5 years from now or 10 years from now. I know the cost has increased quite a bit from when the school bond issue was first introduced a few years back.

-- Posted by RuralMarshall on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 8:41 AM

I know it has been posted in the past...but could someone break down the tax levy of .67 cents to show what a property owner would have to pay. It would be nice to know the break down over a year period, monthly period and what it cost the tax payer if broken down on daily rate. If I remember it was quite reasonably as far as taxes go.

It would be nice to see some kind of inflation report as to what it would cost to build the school in say 5 years from now or 10 years from now. I know the cost has increased quite a bit from when the school bond issue was first introduced a few years back.

-- Posted by RuralMarshall on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 8:40 AM

Do you think there is this much negativity going on in other towns?? From the reports I have seen it showed that almost EVERY other town around us passed their bond... Wonder why that is??

-- Posted by local-A-rod on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 8:12 AM

I am ashamed that we continue to skirt the issues thata need addressing. 72 % of our Kids qualify for free or reduced lunches. Are we so determined to build that we now are going to take more away from those who can least afford it. We can tell them "That's ok we will feed you breakfast and lunch so you can now go hungry the rest of the day, weekends and thru the summer." When their families no longer can afford the rent and or property tax and lose their homes. We can point to tahe new school and see what is more importanat then your care. You can live in a alley ,below a bridge or what ever we do not care. Better yet we will take you away from your family and put you in foster care. A sysatem that is deploreable and a big mess. We need the 16-20 million for a school and we are willing to build it no matter the consequences to you and or your family. IF THIS IS WHAT THIS SYSTEM HAS COME TOO I AM ASHAMED TO EVEN BE IN THIS TOWN. WE NEED TO STAND UP AND SPEAK OUR MINDS. THE SCHOOL BOARD NEEDS TO REMEMBER THAY ARE ELECTED AND ARE SUPPOSE TO LOOK OUT FOR THE KIDS AND THE TAX PAYERS.

-- Posted by auntmeme3401 on Wed, Jan 27, 2010, at 7:57 AM


You want K-4 in one school? Seriously?

Please tell me how you're going to get nearly 1000 kids through lunch periods. Five lunch shifts? Are you going to start serving lunch at 9:00 AM?

-- Posted by fvsol on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 7:40 PM

Gumby,those one hundred year old houses don't have hundreds of children moving through them on a daily basis. Really old houses can be a maintenance nightmare for those who live in them. (I know, I lived in one. While I was sentimental about it, there came a time when financially it was too expensive to maintain so I sold it. )All of this has been hashed and rehashed. Let's just pass this thing and finally get a plan for building structures that don't nickel and dime us to death.

-- Posted by oneofmany on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 12:58 PM

I started at the high school when it was brand new in 77'. That part was cool for about a week, after that I was in "school" and didn't I really care about how new it was. I still had to do my work and what was expected of me. There was nothing "magic" about the new building and my learning.

If we're talking about building 100 year buildings, does anyone think the high school has got 67 years left in it? I doubt it.

-- Posted by What the f...... on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 12:32 PM


First why did you let the foundation get so bad to start with? And if you keep your car maintained, it will last much longer.. How did all of the hundred year old houses in town make it so long? They were maintained and taken care of!

-- Posted by Gumby on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 11:42 AM

If your furnace goes out, of course you fix it, but if your foundation needs to be redone, do you fix it? Even if it costs 3/4 of what its worth? Heck no, you make the decision to build new, just like if your engine shot on a $1,500 car, you don't fix it, you just have to buy another car. Come on people, lets get this vote passed and give our kids something to look forward to.

-- Posted by mtownresident on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 10:52 AM

I'm with Gumby on this one, a rare occurance. I do not like the way the school board keeps putting this on the ballot over and over and over and over and .......you get the picture. I believe it perverts the democratic process to just unendingly keep putting things up to a vote hoping to "wear down" the voters resistance, or to hope for a lucky cycle where the opponents stay home.

I also agree with his statements that the board, past and present, along with the administration should be ashamed for letting our buildings get is such bad shape, it they are truly falling down. If the foundation leaks, FIX IT. If you need ventilation, FIX IT. I exspecially like the way we replaced boilers but kept the old pumps and valves, doh? Also keep in mind that this $17 million still leaves us with all those old buildings except one. What did we fix?

Then of course, where is all the extra cash that was collected for the past several years when we had no debt levy? My property taxes were never lowered as the debts were repaid. Where did that money go as we have not had any bonds to repay for about 8 years now.

As I have said before, if your furnace goes out do you sell your house and move, or fix it? I reckon tax supported entities here in the 2st century do not think that they have to live by the same logic as the rest of us.

-- Posted by countryman on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 10:11 AM

I'm assuming "closed campus" lunch means the kids can't leave for lunch. If this is the case, I don't agree. What is the basis for this decision?

-- Posted by Green Eyes on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 10:09 AM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
According to Principal Jeff Kramer: Reports of thefts from nearby businesses, reports of foul language and innappropriate behavior at nearby restaurants, reports of unsafe practices like crossing US 65 on foot and tardies/truancies in classes following lunch period.


Not a negative commenter, just state the truth and ask questions that you don't wan't to hear, big difference! If a person does ask a difficult question, or questions government in any way, it makes them a negative commenter in the eyes of the pacifist.. You might like handing over all of your paycheck to the government and local boards with out making statements or asking questions, but some do not.. I'm personally tired of just "trusting" every board when we are told to!

Just tired of money being wasted. I don't know how teachers taught the last 300+ years in this country without all of the classroom aides? Maybe it's because they had control of their classrooms and taught? Now we seem to have an aide for everything...we need to double the money asked for on the ballot...heck just go ahead and triple it and get it over with!

I blame the administrations of past for letting our schools get in this bad of shape before anything is even looked at!

Do we maintain our homes or just let them fall in and build a new one? It's like the room that needs vented. Instead of properly venting it years ago, we now use it as an excuse to build a new building? Very poor administration! So can we expect the new buildings to last 20 years or so, as they will be constructed a lot lighter than the old? Do we do nothing to the new buildings that are built and let them also fall to the ground. Sounds like good long term solid planning to me!

-- Posted by Gumby on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 9:52 AM

Yes Gumby...its going back on the ballot, but at least they listened to the voters this time and made the necessary changes to make it more appealing.

-- Posted by ALM on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 8:17 AM

Gumby, dont you a courtcase to argue? You have to be the most negative blogger here! At least the school board picked a good site this time.

-- Posted by yomomma on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 8:07 AM

Vote Yes in April!! The town needs it and the kids deserve it. The school board cannot and will not make everyone happy but they are trying their best with this bond. Vote Yes in April!!

-- Posted by d3 on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 7:37 AM

Still needs to be k-4th in one school then build a new middle school within 10yrs not 20yrs wake the hell up people big city ideas dont work here.

-- Posted by arojr on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 6:22 AM

Keep putting it on the ballot until you get it? The law needs to be amended to only allow a failed ballot initiative to be put back on the ballot every three years or so??

-- Posted by Gumby on Tue, Jan 26, 2010, at 2:15 AM

I'm glad to hear they chose a location away from busy 65 hwy and this property has the possiblity for expansion later on too. Congrats Marshall school board. you might just get your bond passed this time.

-- Posted by glock123 on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 11:06 PM

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