Marion's new school in voter's hands

Marion's new school in voter's hands
By: Arnold Wyrick

MARION, IL --When it comes to the big issues during the upcoming midterm elections, there's one that's weighing heavily upon voters in Marion, Illinois.  The school district is asking voters to support the building of a new high school.
The current facility was built back in the early 1960's to accommodate 900 students.  But the current enrollment is pushing 1,300 and growing.
"I think right now the important thing for us to consider is the fact that Marion has a great deal of momentum right now in the terms of the community.  We're bringing in new business and industry.  And we just feel like it's important that we try to keep pace with that in terms of the educational facilities we provide our students," says Marion's High School Principal Steve Smith.
What the district is proposing to voters is their support to issue $20,000,000 in bonds for the district's share of construction on a new school.  The remaining $20,000,000 would come from the state in school construction funds.
" I want this to be something that the community shares with us in terms of our vision for Marion's youth over the next 30 to 40 years," Smith said.
Signs of support for the project can be seen in many residents yards throughout the community.
"For the children I think it would be a good deal.  They need the best they can get so they can learn.  And from what I've seen they're a little bit on the crowded side," says Everett Sakosko of Marion.
"They've got so many more kids coming up in school.  And they'd be better it's so crowded," says Eileen Smiley of Marion.
One look down a hallway during the changing of classes and it's easy to see why the school district is seeking more space for the students.  And inside the classrooms it's even more crowded.  Some teachers are having to double up on their time.
"We have teachers that are floating right now.  And we need to hire more teachers for next year.  And we have no classroom space to put them in," Smith said.