Letter to the Editor

Letter to the editor

Friday, August 17, 2018

School board members,

By the time I read the Aug. 8 issue of The Marshall Democrat-News about the public meeting that night, it was too late for me to attend. Therefore, I would like to express my thoughts and concerns about your proposed agreement with the city of Marshall through this media.

This is how I understand the situation:

City of Marshall

Acquired the Hab Center property from the state at no cost.
Plans to acquire the Gieringer property at no cost from the school district.

School district

Paid $410,000 for the Gieringer property.
After acquiring the Hab Center property from the city, will pay to remodel any useable buildings.
If the 50 acres to be acquired have deteriorated buildings, may pay additionally to have said buildings demolished.

In my mind, this balance sheet does not balance. The Hab Center property was acquired at no cost to the city of Marshall. If city and school board officials feel this is the best property for future development of Marshall’s school system, then why isn’t the city willing to pass along the same price it paid...no cost...to the school district? After all, better school facilities reflect on the community as a whole.

The article in the Aug. 10 newspaper leads a reader to believe the proposal was a huge advantage for the school district. Perhaps it is, but I don’t see 50 acres of Hab Center property having an $11 million valuation. This converts to $220,000/acre. Just a few years ago, the school board purchased 29 acres for $410,000 or $14,138/acre. There is quite a disparity between the two in value per acre. It appears to me that there will be enough expenses to bring any useable buildings up to school specification standards. Then there is the possibility of other buildings on those 50 acres which might need to be demolished. If grants are received, that is wonderful, However, if they are not obtained, then either the city or the school board, whichever entity has ownership of the acreage, will be paying for demolition.

The Gieringer property was purchased with school tax money, earmarked for our school district. Development of the Hab Center property is going to take money. Why doesn’t the board work with the city to secure the Hab Center acreage at no cost, sell the Gieringer property if it is no longer wanted and use these proceeds for expenses/improvements? This would be using the tax dollars as it was intended. Such consideration would go a long way in building community trust...trust that is needed to pass any future school bond proposals. Please be good stewards of our school tax dollars.

Mildred Hitt,

retired,

a concerned taxpayer

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