Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dear Editor,

Each year following New Year's Day, we begin watching for signs of spring. Traditionally these signs include spring flowers and robins on our lawns. In Marshall, for more than a decade, a first sign of spring is an announcement by the Board of Education that it is placing proposed levy increase before voters. This year, we will once again have the opportunity to vote on a levy increase. I have visited with the Superintendent and Board President and urged them to run a positive campaign and not to try to guilt of shame voters in a certain way.

Before we consider the proposed levy, a number of other items of public interest need to be given attention. One such item is the purchase of the Gieringer property a couple of years ago, about which the public has never been given any details. Since that time, I have asked a number of questions regarding the details of that purchase and met with general statements and misinformation. Using a past suggestion of the President of the Board, I requested the Superintendent send me a copy of the initial purchase and any subsequent agreements or contracts for the purchase of land from the Gieringers. I made this request using the provisions of the Sunshine Law. It took from Nov. 22 to Jan. 5 and three attempts to get the information requested.

Now the facts of this transaction as revealed by the records: first, I must say the Board of Education had the right to make this purchase and did not need the approval of voters. I feel their lack of informing the public was at the least unwise. Second, there is no buy back provision as some board members thought. Third, only parcel can be purchased a calendar year. Fourth, the purchase price of each parcel is $205,000. Fifth, each parcel is a different size; the first parcel was 12 acres and the second parcel was 14 acres. Both of these parcels have been purchased. The third parcel is 29 acres and may be purchased this year. The fourth parcel is 25 acres and may be purchased next year. The total cost for the entire property is $820,000.

I hope this letter answered some of the questions that you have had and will try to address other topics that may do the same over the next few weeks.

Roger Blakely

retired educator