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Marion C. Early and Willard Districts Seeking Voter Approval to Improve Schools

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Bond issues are before voters in two Greene County school districts Tuesday, with neither debt service levy expected to change if approved.

Stewart Pratt is the assistant superintendent for the Willard School District, and explains that growth has led officials to call for a $5.5 million dollar bond issue.

“We’ve grown about a thousand kids in the last ten years, and we’ve grown three hundred students in the last three years.”

He adds that this no-tax rate increase measure that would provide funding for three projects and allow the district to keep growing at this rate. Overall the bond issues will not increase the school levy tax, and can be taken care of within its bond capacity, according to Pratt.

The Marion C. Early School district also has a proposition on the ballot, a $1 million no-increase bond, which would mean updating the Marion Fieldhouse in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If approved, funding would also go toward expanding the east entrance of the field house, plus ADA-compliant restrooms and a new concession area.

The first of Willard's three proposed projects is classroom additions to Orchard Hills Elementary School. Pratt says the building, which opened in 2009, has now reached capacity, and mobile classroom units have had to be installed in the back of the school.

The second is for new heating and air systems at both North Elementary and Willard Intermediate. Pratt says “currently those buildings have two old boilers systems that date back to the 1950’s, and we’ve struggled to keep those running…and they’ve just gotten to the place where they’re not functional.”

The last project this bond would cover is to secure property for a future additional building to the district.

As Pratt says, “I think every district or any entity wants engagement,” and that “we’re trying to get the information out to our voters, and we’re encouraging people to go to the polls.”

An official with the Marion C. Early School District was not available for comment Wednesday. But in a press release, Superintendent Dr. Eric Kurre said the current state of its Fieldhouse prevents full event access for both students and patrons.

“In addition to being used for basketball games, the Fieldhouse hosts district band concerts, choir concerts, elementary school programs, the PTA carnival and assemblies, including an annual Veterans Day event.  The Fieldhouse also serves as a theater for the high school’s drama department,” Kurre said.

Both of these issues will appear on the local ballot on Tuesday. View other ballot items to appear for Greene County citizens here. Polls will be open from 6 am to 7 pm.

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