Voters have spoken, albeit a few of them….42% participation in qualifying precincts, not bad. Not awesome.Presidential elections get 60 to 68% participation rate on average.
So what is plan B? Can the community agree the schools are aged and many are in need of significant repair? Can we also resign ourselves to the reality that the state is less willing to provide financial assistance for maintenance of the existing buildings due to their age? Where does this leave us? My assumption is that we will likely need to promote a levy that sees funds raised (without statewide assist) to maintain and possibly upgrade the existing community schools. That’s not a bad idea………
What I am concerned about is our willingness to pay for such levies? Many saw the cost of the most recent plan a 5.6 mill levy and balked at the cost. Have you given thought to what numbers would be associated with a maintenance levy for our existing? We sat down recently and started calculating those costs based on current costs of operation and maintenance of the school system (via documentation provided to the state by Treasurer Antill and the MCS School board). To be quite frank, you aren’t going to like that mill rate number.
This is where we are left though. We rejected the plan proposed in favor of continued operation of what we are already doing. Superintendent Hampton has already indicated some schools were slated for closure (this was due to operational costs and the fact we get 2.75 mn via the levy, but operations costs are near 3.6 mn). This isn’t a problem so much as we admit that continuing to do what we are comfortable doing requires we pay, and pay more, to do so. Just as life in rural areas means giving up amenities that are afforded to urban centers (quick ambulatory service, broadband, treated water, sewer, etc.), you have to pay more for the service because of the costs of delivery. So too must the Marietta area grapple with the reality that choosing to pursue maintenance and community schools means you are going have to pay extra with nothing “new” to show for it.
Do you have faith this community will step up to the plate when faced with that price tag? If you don’t, what do you feel is our reality? I can assure you, failure to decide will result in us losing the ability to decide. For a community that loves its autonomy, being told to consolidate and locate without input will anger people. Unfortunately, because of our kicking the can on this issue for the last 30 years, there will be far far less people who are angry, because there will be far fewer people left in the community.