Marshall school board starts laying groundwork for April bond issue | School facility issue tied to economic development efforts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Richard G. Bartow, executive vice president of George K. Baum & Company reviews preliminary bond issue assumptions for the Marshall school board Wednesday, Oct. 10. Bartow sketched out two conservative scenarios, one for a $10 million bond and one for a $15 million bond. The board did not make a decision on how much money would be needed when it places the issue on the April ballot. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

The Marshall school board met in special session Wednesday, Oct. 10, to begin laying the groundwork for placing a bond issue on the April ballot, and it picked up an endorsement for the idea from Marshall-Saline Development Corporation Director Bill Riggins.

Following presentations on possible bond rates and building design for a new elementary school, the board turned to the community impact aspect of seeking approval for the bond issue.

Riggins and Zimmer Real Estate Group representative Troy Nash were invited to spell out how the bond issue would fit in the context of Zimmer's economic development plan, which has been in development throughout the year.

"We want to go forward with this ASAP," said board President Kathy Green, "but we want to be able to fit in your plan."

It fits fine, according to Nash and Riggins.

He mentioned the three forces the community will have to grapple with as it seeks to implement the plan: globalization, immigration and education. The first two, he said, are to some degree outside local control.

Troy Nash of Zimmer Real Estate Group addresses the Marshall Board of Education Wednesday, Oct. 10, providing the economic development context for the question of building new schools. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

"Education is the biggest thing in economic development," Riggins said. "For economic development, we need to have a new school, period. We're going to be behind you 110 percent."

Several school board members reiterated their support for building new schools.

Mike Mills said he recommends the board spend more time talking about benefits of new buildings rather than criticism of current buildings.

"We need to point out why we need new buildings besides that the buildings were built in 1923," he said. "I live in a house that was built in 1923 and it's OK."

Douglas Koehn again urged the board to rethink strategies as it presents the issue to the public.

"We're going to need a very robust steering committee," he said, adding that popular social media should be used to present information.

Richard G. Bartow, executive vice president of George K. Baum & Company reviewed two scenarios as examples, one for a $10 million bond and one for a $15 million bond.

He recalled his message to the board prior to the November 2009 election, when he said there was no better time to borrow money -- thanks in part to federal stimulus program benefits. While conditions now don't quite approach the 2009 situation, he said interest rates remain uncommonly low.

The previous bond issue in April 2010, was for $16.8 million and would have imposed a 67-cent debt service levy on local district property owners.

Bartow estimated a $10 million bond now would require a 37-cent levy, and a $15 million bond would require a 55-cent levy. The levy rates are per $100 assessed value.

Bartow gave an example of the impact a 55-cent levy would have on the owner of a home valued by the county assessor at $100,000. The tax increase would be $8.71 per month.

He estimated the district's current bonding capacity at about $23.6 million.

The board has not yet approved a building design and doesn't have an estimated cost, so no decision was made on the levy rate.

Michael G. Kautz of ACI Frangkiser Hutchens, the architectural design firm the district has a contract with, presented the most recent design selected by the board. He noted the design was developed prior to the November 2009 election and suggested the board consider whether the design still meets the needs of the district.

The board has until Jan. 29, 2013, to place the bond issue on the ballot.

Following the open session, the board met in closed session to discuss real estate and personnel matters. No action was taken, according to unofficial minutes of the meeting.

Contact Eric Crump at

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  • "Michael G. Kautz of ACI Frangkiser Hutchens, the architectural design firm the district has a contract with, presented the most recent design selected by the board. He noted the design was developed prior to the November 2009 election and suggested the board consider whether the design still meets the needs of the district."

    Might I suggest that if his design is not valid after 3 years; the next one may not be any good either?

    -- Posted by Interested Too on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 6:21 AM
  • I think the BOE needs to also give serious thought to who their spokesperson will be. It should not be someone with a lot of baggage.

    -- Posted by momaster on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 7:21 AM
  • How many times must we say no? This is not for the kids, it's for the parents who want a shiney new status symbol. To the kids it's still just "school". We have neighborhood schools. We need to use them and makes sure these kids learn the basics of the three "R's" That's what we need to concentrate on. Let's upgrage what we have instead of building new.These are solide old buldings that just need some updating, let's go back to K-6 the wat they were designed and maybe we could save some money on all this excesiive bussing. Anyone know where this one is going? South of town with only highway access again?

    -- Posted by What the f...... on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 7:23 AM
    Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
    The previous site was the Gieringer property on the southeast corner of town. The board has not yet selected a site for this time.
  • @What the f...... You are st..., we need to update? Really! By updating, you are still using money to fix something that is irreparable. These schools waste so much money on their utilities specially during the winter months. Here's an idea, why not build a new school with the latest technology to actually save money in the long run. People in this town are always looking for the easy way out and don't realize that they will actually save money by not only utility cost but by the staff that is used to run the new school. How many principals do we have, 1 per school right? How many do we need for one school, 1 right? just saved you about $250,000 a year! Just think about it.

    -- Posted by TemplarKnight on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 9:59 AM
  • I have always supported a single building school. I see the points of the "neighborhood" school proponents but i also know that i have two children in two different schools. It is almost impossible to get both kids picked up in decent time when they are on opposite sides of town and multiple zones to navigate thru to get there. I also live next door to one of these schools and i am going to say that my opinion for the need of a single building to house a majority of the elementary as a great idea has grown immensly. It is a mad house on and around my street at 2:30 on and it is very confusing at some points to get around there and frustrating as well.

    Now I know that neither of my points affect the education level of our kids but I have an assumption that facilities attract. When you go out of town to stay the night do you pick the run down cabin for 35 a night or do you stay at the clean motel for 45? Anyone can say the cabin but I would call their bluff. You spend the extra money for the extras in every other aspect of life. Vacations, cars, homes....why not schools? High school recruits are always wooed by the facilities offered by prospective colleges. If the hot tub is moldy and the showers are cold then your probably not going to choose that over a school, with the same offer, that has a training room and a nice hot shower.

    As far as repairing or updating the existing schools, there are ways to do this but none of them would fit any budget and a levy would be needed for those too. Would you pay .25 cents for an update or .37 cents for a new building that can benefit parents, teachers, kids, community and perception? I would argue that a new building with all the tools and ammentities that teachers need would improve education, and yes a new school is for the teachers and why shouldnt it be? You can take the greatest teacher and if the environment around the child is not comfortable or distracting they wont learn anything, or at least not as much as they could given the tools needed to do so. Thats all i have, sorry to jump around but i am very interested in this ballot issue.

    -- Posted by thisguy on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 11:22 AM
  • this guy,

    The problem is they are not utilizing the schools as they were designed to be used. Our population has not grown dramatically since I was in grade school. At that time they were neighborhood schools with K thru 6th grade which was incredibly handy for families with multiple children that fall within that grade range who live in the "neighborhood". It also made it much easier for kids to learn the responsibility of getting themselves to school. These days you certainly don't want to get stuck behind a school bus that not only has to deliver kids far out of thier neighborhoods, but in some cases it seems is if they are giving them door to door curb service. I wonder how much all of that costs? So if Templar Knight seems to think I am "stupid" then fine, you can say it. Smartdog is absolutely right and I for one am starting to get offended with this issue constantly shoved down our throats along with the hopes they will catch us off guard with a spring ballot. Ok, once you get your grade schools, how long unitl we "need" a new middle school? and by that time the highschool might be a whopping 50 years old and we'll have to replace that as well. I want a "new" car , but I am perfectly happy to make due with my older one that has been very good to me. The number of students will always dicte the number of teacher we'll need no matter the students are located, Seems the grade schools could get by with one or two principals.

    -- Posted by What the f...... on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 11:54 AM
  • I have no problem with a new school with safe access...IF the board has a valid plan to dispose of the old schools. I would rather have the cost of tearing them down added to the bond than to have them sit empty in prominent spots in town.

    That, and I agree....totally new spokespersons. Those in the past have been seen as having personal agendas or have relatives in the school system.

    Let's make this a clean, finished product with very little doubt as to the outcome.

    I will stand with SmartDog on the levy issue as well. Some sort of guarantee that the BOE knows what they are doing would help immensely.

    Do these things, and I'll send a vote their way.

    -- Posted by Interested Too on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 5:10 PM
  • What the F..., do you have kids currently in the school system? I do have a kid in school with another on the way, and personally I believe my kids deserve better schools. All towns around us have brand new schools, and you don't think it's for kids? My child walked into Boonville elementary school for her cousins thing last week and all she could say was how cool it would be to eat in a nice cafetaeria and have such bright shiny rooms.

    And yes it is for parents and teachers and everyone else. Have you ever seen reaction of outsiders when they walk in our schools, it's almost fear that we still send our children there. And i'm like you, i don't care about my car, i drive an old beatup one too. But you know what, when i had my kid we got a brand new safe clean vehicle because i didn't want to take any chances with my children. Kids learn better in clean nice enviroments, it's been proven with studies and just freaking common sense! The only reason anyone would vote against this is because they are too cheap to pay for their kids, it's $8 a month, so don't go to McDs once this month and you can pay for it. If your to cheap just say so, don't use some excuse like 1950's thinking of neighborhood schools!!!

    -- Posted by oldschool17 on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 5:20 PM
  • oldschool17,

    Your name is a little misleading don't you think, not to mention that your just a little hysterical? Smart Dog is right, a new school is a desirable NOT a nescessity. I am not surprised that your child was swayed by a shiney new school but after the first week it would just be school to them. As a grown up you should know better.

    I am not anti-new school but I am anti-new school without an increased population and tax base to justify it.

    The way things are currently structured the $8 a month will just be the start and it will be a pandora's box once it's started. "All towns around us have new schools" is not enough justification in my opinion.

    -- Posted by What the f...... on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 7:35 PM
  • Here's the bottom line: Children in this school district have been attending school in trailers for DECADES. That's just flat ridiculous. The argument that it was good enough for me, it's good enough for my kids is not acceptable. You should want BETTER for your children than you had. Neighborhood schools are no longer an option, so cross that off your list, too. If you want economic development to happen here, better school facilities must be part of that.

    -- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 8:16 PM
  • Why are neighborhood schools not an option and how many times do the VOTERS have to say NO?

    -- Posted by What the f...... on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 8:24 PM
  • Kathy,

    Your arguments ring true, however this proposal has continued to go down to defeat. I have to blame those proposing this for doing a terrible job in the past.

    This will continue to fail until those working for it see the problems and address them fairly and concisely.

    -- Posted by Interested Too on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 9:34 PM
  • Are kids are going to school in trailers people...trailers. Are we proud of that? I know I'm not. I also agree being involved in financial services, there is no better time to borrow than now. We put this off another 5 years and we'll be sorry.

    And the whole I've got a old car that is just fine line is just laughable. We are talking about new schools for our kids at $8/month, not a new $400/month car payment.


    -- Posted by mtownresident on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 9:40 PM
  • This won't stop at one school. The next thing you know we will need a new middle school and high school. We would do well to remember our parents and grandparents generation. They made due with what they had, they did get good results and they didn't whine about it. If you are so worried about your kids education then that has to start at home. You need to be a parent. You need to set standards of your expectations, hold your children accountable and help them aquire the tools the need to understand and apply what they are being taught.Where it's being taught should have no bearing what so ever. That starts at home. Shiney new school buildings have nothing to do with that. Real education starts at home. Dumping your kid off at a "new school" doesn't guarantee anything better than what we have now.

    -- Posted by What the f...... on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 10:27 PM
  • our parents and grandparents didn't do with what they had, they did with what was available to them. you are right though that education starts at home, 100%, and parents can set expectations and be involved in all aspects of their childs education and they should be, but they cant keep the heat on in an old building, they cant make that window unit(ridiculous) cool the room they are concentrating in. If the opponents of this would just come out and say " i dont want to spend the money because i dont belive the BOE knows what they are doing in handling it and i dont trust them to apply it to what they are selling us" then we can go forward with addressing the real issue, but to sit here and say that we should just pop a tent and learn is crazy. Surroundings do have an effect on learning and mindset. our parents and grandparents sat in one room schools and learned with cold/hot temperatures because thats what the standard or the way it was then, not because they didnt feel like building a school. if that is the way we all should think then shame on all of us for passing that horse and buggy or covered wagon to buy a decent depandable car. i apologize, i respect opinions but i feel that one is a reach at best.

    -- Posted by thisguy on Fri, Oct 12, 2012, at 11:11 AM
  • this guy.

    No one said that. I certainly have no problem spending money to update what we have. I do have a problem with just throwing what we have for a shiney new shrine.

    -- Posted by What the f...... on Fri, Oct 12, 2012, at 12:09 PM
  • WTF, the most common argument against neighborhood schools is that they would result in de facto segregation (although that is not the only argument). If you want to know something on that topic, do your own research on the subject, which has been discussed at length since the school bond issue has been in the news.

    -- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Sun, Oct 14, 2012, at 7:44 AM
  • I don't think that many of you realize a benefit of the grade level sites that we currently have in place. This is a benefit to the children, not the adults. Right now if a child moves within the Marshall school district boundaries, then they do not have to switch schools. If there are neighborhood schools then when a child and their family moves, then he or she must change schools to attend the one in their "neighborhood". So for example, right now, a first grader attends Benton school no matter how many times he or she moves during that school year. This might not sound that important to adults but I guarantee it is important to that child. Many Marshall families move many times during a given school year. These children need a sense of stability and structure in what can be an otherwise chaotic environment. So, it might seem like a small benefit to you but to a child it is huge!

    -- Posted by CJK on Sun, Oct 14, 2012, at 9:48 AM
  • The number one problem with our under-educated children is their under-educated parents. It is all well, and good to urge parents to do as they should, but it is wasted advice when a large portion of parents would if they could, but are not prepared to do so.

    Some day maybe we will offer the opportunity to ill equipped parents to get up to speed so that they may help their children enter a school prepared to soar. Until we do our education system will remain a frustration to students, and teachers.

    That costs money, and not many will support that. It would cost as much as building a new school to house the ill-prepared masses of today. Would it be better to have kids keen to, and prepared to learn, or a new building to house kids just as the education system gets them today? I do not think our society is yet at a point that we will even discuss the issue.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Oct 14, 2012, at 5:03 PM
  • OK

    Make learning into a video game, and a few may increase their knowledge.

    -- Posted by Interested Too on Sun, Oct 14, 2012, at 9:34 PM
  • Good point IT. That could help kids, and parents better prepare kids for school. By the way I do appreciate the inference of irony in your statement. :)

    Considering the horribly unprepared status of kids entering the education system, constructing an edifice is akin to putting lipstick on a pig.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sun, Oct 14, 2012, at 9:48 PM
  • $8/month (and ok WTF maybe it goes up to $15 or something in a few years) is well worth my kids not spending all day in a trailer. And yes WTF, kids are in trailers because the population has outgrown the current schools. But your right, nobody should ever build anything new, there should be no new homes built, no new businesses built, everyone should just deal with what they got. I mean that's what our parents & grandparents did, that's why every building in town is 100 years old. Oh wait, my grandpa built a brand new restraunt & car, my father built a new business and mini they are horrible people, how dare they do anything new, should have just kept with the old. Seriously WTF, it's $8 a month to help our children get out of a trailer and into nice new schools. Oh and to remodel the schools if that's what you want to do, would still cost you close to $8 a month, if I told you i'd either sell you a 04' F-150 with 285,000 miles on it, but I rebuilt the engine & it looks good, for the same price as a 13' F-150 fully loaded would you really say give me the old one???

    -- Posted by oldschool17 on Mon, Oct 15, 2012, at 2:51 PM
  • The only way for Marshall to grow and attract new business is to offer good schools. What business in their right mind would look at Marshall's existing schools and say "our employees will want to send their kids to school here?" The only way to economically grow a community is to have good schools, parks, ect ect. Good schools provide more than just place to get an education. They represent the community and how the community feels about growing.

    I agree that one new school would eliminate the need for as many principals, thus saving money. Plus the busing from one school to another, good grief!

    -- Posted by litlmissme on Mon, Oct 15, 2012, at 3:49 PM
  • Nothing will work if the same people promote it. It's just not going to happen.

    The BOE needs to find fresh faces to spread the word about their new plan. People with solid reasons for backing it and who are not connected in any personal financial way with the outcome of the proposal.

    -- Posted by Interested Too on Mon, Oct 15, 2012, at 4:09 PM
  • What the

    You're obviously over 100 because for the rest of Marshall their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents did it in the SAME buildings! That is the problem. Except for MHS and Northwest, all of the schools from BMS down, were built before the Great Depression. Even MHS and NW are approaching 40 and 50 years respectively. For some families in town even MHS is on its 3rd generation.

    Being a transplant to Marshall, I have never understood the tendancy of the residents to reject anything new. Since neither Jesus or Abraham Lincoln studied at Eastwood School, I don't understand the fascination with placing these buildings on the list of sacred shrines.

    I also don't understand the argument made by some that until administration is changed they won't vote for it. I've been here 30+ years. There isn't a principal, superintendant, or school board member who has not been replaced at least 3 times in that period. How long are some of you going to hold a grudge, even the Old Testament only lays punishment on 7 generations!

    -- Posted by inthemiddle on Mon, Oct 15, 2012, at 9:36 PM
  • The voters have said NO and NO again. This is insane.

    -- Posted by windowview on Tue, Oct 16, 2012, at 2:10 PM
  • Obviously, I am out of the loop here. Who other than the kids, parents, and employees of the school district would benefit from this proposal? I am confused as to who you are referring in your comment; "The BOE needs to find fresh faces to spread the word about their new plan. People with solid reasons for backing it and who are not connected in any personal financial way with the outcome of the proposal."

    -- Posted by litlmissme on Tue, Oct 16, 2012, at 4:35 PM
  • And if the people of this town keep saying no, good luck ever getting any new businesses to locate here. People will continue to move away taking their dollars that keep local businesses open with them. Continually voting these proposals down is digging the town's own grave.

    -- Posted by Akura on Thu, Oct 18, 2012, at 10:30 PM
  • CJK - I'm sorry but single grade schools are silly. Every child gets to stay in a single building for one year and then move to a new building the next year and so on. It's nonsense. Young kids can't develop any kind of continuity that way. My elementary school had every grade in the same building and every day up until 5th grade I could see my old kindergarten and first grade teachers. It was never intimidating to swap to an entirely new school, I just moved up the hall a few rooms.

    And honestly how many families are moving multiple times during the school year?

    -- Posted by Akura on Thu, Oct 18, 2012, at 10:36 PM
  • Also to all of you complaining that new buildings are a waste. Scientific research shows that new buildings *alone* produce improved student success.

    Students apparently see new buildings as a sign their teachers, parents and community CARE enough about them and their education to spend money to build them a new school. It's an encouragement to them to better themselves.

    But if the community isn't willing to invest in their future, their children, how does such a community think it will survive?

    -- Posted by Akura on Thu, Oct 18, 2012, at 10:39 PM
  • Akura:

    I totally agree! Well said.

    -- Posted by litlmissme on Sat, Oct 20, 2012, at 9:44 AM
  • Akura,

    Well the problem of kids moving multiple times during a school year happens more often than you think. I am sure you lived in a home that your parents owned but many families today rent their homes and move frequently. They do this because some families have a difficult time coming up with rent money thus they have to move. Building a new school also works to solve this problem because it would not be a neighborhood school either so if a child moves he or she does not have to switch schools.

    -- Posted by CJK on Sat, Oct 20, 2012, at 5:41 PM
  • Akura

    We have a very transient population in rural Missouri, especially among the lower socio-economic levels of our community. Families move to stay one jump ahead of creditors, or to take advantage of better rent, or because they change jobs frequently, or because of marriage issues, or custody issues, or they keep changing boyfriends/girlfriends. We have students from the urban areas of our nation who have had problems, so they have been sent to live with relatives in "safer" rural areas. Students move in and out regularly. Sometimes they yo-yo back and forth between several communities. If you think moving from school to school is a concern because of a lack of community, think of our students who move from town to town more than once a year.

    -- Posted by inthemiddle on Wed, Oct 24, 2012, at 5:09 PM
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