Calendar, Levy Rate Talk On Agenda

The levy rate for Marshall County Schools will be a topic of discussion at the Marshall County Board of Education workshop today in the board offices.

The board decided to keep the county’s levy rate at 98 percent in March, after voters renewed the excess levy for an additional five years in December 2012. Due to a $605 million increase in the county’s property values, the board was able to collect an additional $5.7 million to the $16 million levy.

Officials said the additional money would fund pay raises, school repairs and restoring federal cuts to local education programs.

Several residents opposed keeping the levy rate, instead asking the board to lower the rate to 72 percent, which would have still given the district additional funding from the increased property values. According to Superintendent Michael Hince, the board will use today’s workshop to discuss whether to keep the rate at 98 percent for the 2014-2015 year.

The board will also discuss whether to keep Cameron’s modified schedule or put the county on a unified calendar, Hince said.

Cameron’s calendar sparked opposition from the city’s residents in May when the board voted to keep the modified schedule, which has students in the elementary and high schools starting class in early August and allows for several breaks throughout the year including days off for hunting season and a spring break.

Residents and teachers cited concerns with the calendar such as difficulty keeping students focused with the additional breaks and student athletes who needed to practice during breaks to keep up with the season.

Hince noted the district will be required to hold two public meeting on the county’s calendar before the board makes a decision on the matter.

Staffing will also be a topic of conversation, Hince said, since the board will have to make decisions on any cuts, additions or transitions in personnel in January.

“We will just look at where we are in staffing overall,” Hince said. “Now is the time to look at it.”