Board Faces Difficult Budget Decision With New School

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By Matthew Searcy

MT. VERNON -- Plans to cut the budget for the new Mt. Vernon high school are on hold. The project is $6-million over budget.  

In recent weeks, the board has tried to lower the price by re-bidding construction and material costs, but it hasn't been enough.  
 
"It's a lot like your own home finances," said Mt. Vernon football coach Jared Shaner. "You have a certain amount of money and you have to choose where you are going to spend that money and where you are going to put it in."
 
On Thursday, the Mt. Vernon township school board couldn't decide how to spend their money. Tabling a decision to eliminate either a football field or theatre from the new school design.   
 
"I sure hope we can come to some common ground and figure out a way to make it work for both of us," explained Shaner. "I wouldn't argue against a theatre. I think it's just as important in other terms to our school and our community." 
 
The board must cut costs before construction of the new school can begin. Superintendent Mike Smith says the board will revisit the issue next week. He remains optimistic there will be enough funding for both the field and theatre.  
 
"We may end up with two facilities that are suitable for practice but are not completely fitted out," said Smith. "We will have a final decision Monday because we need to actually move forward with the process so we don't lose another month." 
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