School board renews revitalization agreement with city

News editor

Marion school board approved renewing its participation in the city’s downtown revitalization tax rebate program Monday by a 5-2 vote.

Jana Nordquist and Sarah Cope voted against it. Nordquist, in her first year on the board, said she didn’t know enough about the program to vote in favor of it.

Although he voted in favor of it, board president Chris Sprowls expressed reluctance. He said he hasn’t seen downtown revitalization despite the programs existence for the past several years.

“I’m growing weary with it,” Sprowls said.

He said that when renewal comes up again in five years, he hopes the city will have hard data on development along Main St.

The revitalization program gives property tax rebates for 10 years on improvements in designated areas, particularly along Main St.

Budget approved with tax hike

The board approved the 2013-14 budget with a 5.9-percent hike in property taxes, which amounts to a tax increase of $28.57 per year on a typical $85,000 home. The budget allows for expenditures up to $9,751,471.

The board also:

  • Approved more than 20 requests for students from outside the district to attend Marion schools.
  • Reviewed a new teacher and principal evaluation system that was instituted as part of Kansas’ waiver of No Child Left Behind standards.
  • Approved a request from Men’s Encounter to use a bus for a gathering Sept. 6 to 8. The group will pay for fuel, mileage, and a driver.
  • Met in closed session for 20 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Heard from Superintendent Lee Leiker that negotiations are in progress with Tabor College for a new swim team to use the aquatic center for practice and competition, beginning in 2014-15. Leiker said it may be on the September agenda.
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