Public Hearing on Marion School Cuts

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By Mike Snuffer

MARION - A big crowd turned out Thursday night for a public meeting on the Marion School District's financial troubles and redistricting plans.

The school board is weighing several ideas to help even out the student population at each school,including the new Creal Springs building.

Those proposals would mean redrawing the boundaries between the schools and some students could be shifted to other buildings.

Kathy Fisher is one of many parents who addressed the school board. "I'm a teacher, so I know, having 24 kids in a room versus 27, believe it or not, those three kids can change the dynamics of a classroom," said Fisher.

Teachers, parents and kids addressed the board with concerns. Most also spoke out against the plan to cut eight elementary teachers because that could result in larger class sizes.


"We have had more than enough waste and misguided decisions," said teacher Melissa Tanner. "Please don't over-balance, slow down and make the best decisions for the long term, not this one year."

Board members insist they are trying to make wise decisions, but they said cuts will have to be made to close the district's more than $3-million budget gap.


"All these people that want to save this and save that, I'd love to save those jobs, too," School board member Jay Schafter said. "But the reality is, I've got to have that $2 million. I've got to get it somewhere.

The board has already trimmed more than a million dollars from the debt with cuts this school year and it's also looking at ways to increase revenue. Possibly raising the price of things like lunch, sports admission fees and drivers ed.

The board will host another public meeting on the issues on January 24th.
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