Letter to the Editor

MPS tax levy proposal

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dear Editor,

If passed, the proposed levy should increase the local tax dollars by $440,000 each of the three years as the levy is implemented. This means when the 75-cent levy is fully applied it will produce more than $1,300,000 beginning 2017-2018.

At Marshall Public School's January board meeting, I asked, "Is the board saying if this three year proposal passes, that you will not ask for another levy increase for at least three years." The board's answer was "no." This question so upset one member of the board that she attacked me verbally. This kind of reaction is indicative of the mind set the board has operated with for the past several years. "My way or the highway" has been their mode of running the district too long. This way of doing business generated a statement following the election last spring and repeated a number of times. This statement was "four down and three to go." I have never made this comment but being unsuccessful since last July to get the board to be more informative and open in their operations without success, I understand the frustration that caused others to make it.

In October I had a conversation with the president of the board and suggested that the board do a better job of keeping the public informed. His reply was, "If anyone wants to know anything all they have to do is ask." I responded, "The board has the responsibility to keep the public informed and this should be done through a public relations program."

Patrons should also be aware the minutes posted on the district's homepage are not the same as the official board minutes. Why does the board continue to keep two sets of minutes. Why should we pass a levy increase on a "trust me basis" when the board will not be honest with the voters. In my last letter to the editor I corrected a number of false statements used as reasons why we need to increase our levy. I also said I would research the statement that Marshall spends $1,000 less per student than the next lowest rated school. The truth is the school we were compared to was Hannibal and they spent $8,270 per student last year while Marshall spent $8,473 per student. These figures were provided by records from the Department of Education, so don't believe everything you may hear. Call me and I will give you the website and you can check for yourself.

I don't understand why the board waited until two days before the filing deadline for the April election to inform the public of their intent to place a levy increase on the ballot. I am confused since this has been a topic of private conversation by board members and the superintendent for the past 10 months. This makes it look like we will be told what they want us to know when they want us to know. This type of behavior does little to build trust or confidence in a group that is asking us to raise our taxes.

Roger Blakely,