Board Chief: ‘We’ve Waited Long Enough’

Marshall County Board of Education President Roger Lewicki is determined to finally have the new Cameron High/Middle School complex open in time for students to occupy it on Jan. 3.

“We have waited long enough,” Lewicki said Monday during a special board meeting.

The $32.5 million structure is more than a year behind schedule. Board members hope to allow workers to move equipment and furniture into the structure as early as next week, though school officials said this will definitely happen by Dec. 18.

“We are where we need to be. We have stayed the course,” added Superintendent Fred Renzella.

Board Vice President Lori Kestner said she was impressed with the structure during a recent tour, noting that the cafeteria is “bright and big.”

“The building has a very relaxed feeling,” she said.

Just three days before the school is scheduled to open on Dec. 18, Marshall County voters are being asked to provide board members more than $82 million over the next five years by approving a renewal operating levy during a Dec. 15 special election. School officials said these funds pay for everything from building renovations and employee benefits to band equipment and 4-H programs. Marshall County voters passed the first operating levy in 1959 – and they have approved every one since.

Assistant Superintendent Wayne Simms previously said it usually costs about $80,000 to hold the special election. He noted, however, that school officials prefer to have the special election so that voters can focus on the matter.

If passed by a simple majority, the Marshall County levy will provide $16.43 million to the school district every year for five years, which will total $82.16 million during the period.

The levy will charge 22.95 cents per $100 of assessed value for Class I properties; 45.9 cents per $100 in value for Class II properties; and 91.8 cents per $100 in value for Class III and IV properties. The largest portion of the levy money would be spent for employee salary supplements and substitute costs, as well as renovations at John Marshall High School.

Monday, board members unanimously approved a proclamation noting that the excess levy will only charge property owners at 98 percent instead of 100 percent. Renzella said this was so that voters can know that the rate of taxation is not rising.

“Every year, our board has voted to lower the rate from 100 percent to 98 percent. This way, voters can be assured this will continue,” he said.

The board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Cameron High School in Cameron, though Renzella said Monday he is trying to move this meeting to Dec. 13.