Early voting begins on Marion millage vote
Voters in Marion School District asked to support 5 mil increase
email@example.com Voters in the Marion School District have one week to go to the polls to vote on a proposed millage to fund a number of improvements to district schools and programs.
Marion superintendent of schools Dr. Glen Fenter is hoping an appeal to the community will urge voters to support the initiative.
“By now most of you are aware that we are asking our community to increase their level of investment in our schools,” Fenter wrote in a letter to members of the Marion Chamber of Commerce. “I assure you that no one wants to have to ask our patrons for more resources, and without a doubt the easy thing to do would be to do nothing.
But just because something is easy, does not always make it right.”
Fenter cited several factors in making the decision to ask for a raise in the millage rate. “The state of Arkansas is systematically changing the way they choose to fund public schools, leaving districts and their communities that are not experiencing consistent levels of growth or serving higher income students with significantly less options for resources than at any other time in the last two decades,” he said. “Obviously, we believe this new direction for funding is terribly flawed and clearly presents a myriad of new challenges for communities in eastern and southern Arkansas, but unfortunately, we see little hope for meaningful change on the horizon.”
Fenter asked voters to consider the big-picture goals for the district and its students.
“So, while our request is intended to help provide the resources to keep our schools appropriately supported with the facilities, equipment, technology and talent required to continue to meet the growing challenges of preparing our students for success in our rapidly changing world, this election is about much more than just the school house,” said Fenter. “We can all see clear irrefutable evidence in our region of the social and financial losses associated with the fact that communities are only as successful as their schools. Without question, we have a choice of continuing to invest our resources in supporting our schools and concurrently elevating our expectations of them, or running the certain risk of losing much, much more if our schools and ultimately our communities flounder and fail.”
Fenter stressed that better schools mean a better community.
“Consequently, many of the projects proposed in this initiative are intended to not only better serve the educational needs of our community, but also to create new quality of life and spur economic development opportunities for our community,” he said.
“Whether providing facilities to fuel an unprecedented level of year-round recreational/educational programming offered to the youth of our region with partners like MYSA and the Crittenden County Boys and Girls Club, or by creating the opportunity for the city to use the beautifully historic 1938 gym as a new home for a potentially game-changing tourist magnet like the Sultana Museum, or attracting more summer basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball tournaments to our newlyrenovated sports parks and facilities which brings patrons to our hotels, gas stations and restaurants, the answer is clear. Our schools must be viewed as our best option for improving our quality of life and growing the economy of our community.”
Fenter intimated that a vote for the millage was a vote for the future.
“Without question,” he said, “whatever the cost of the present battle, paying that price is a much wiser move than refusing to do so and ultimately losing the war.”
As part of the effort to inform and educate the public, the district has scheduled an informative sessions for the public at the Marion Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Luncheon today at noon.
The luncheon will be dedicated to the discussion of the millage vote. The lunch will be held at the Marion Performing Arts Center and is $12 per person. Call the Chamber office for reservations at (870) 739-6041.
Early voting begins today at the Crittenden County Courthouse. Early voting will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., through Monday, May 20 (no weekend voting).
All early voting will take place at the courthouse. On Election Day, votes may be cast at any of the following locations:
• Marion Fire Department, 364 Old Military Rd., in Marion.
• Crawfordsville Water Department, 1468 Old Hwy. 64, in Crawfordsville.
• W.R. Golden Community Center, 1084 3rd St., in Turrell.