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WJBD - Local News - Centralia Residents Address Board on Working Cash Bond Issue at CHS Board Meeting

Centralia Residents Address Board on Working Cash Bond Issue at CHS Board Meeting

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Several Centralia residents concerned about a proposed Centralia High School working cash bond issue addressed the Centralia High School Board Thursday night.   The school board is looking at using the $2-million dollars in proceeds to either renovate Evers Field or build a new football stadium at the new high school campus.

Among those speaking was Centralia businessman Norm Schuchman.   He was one of those who passed petitions to try and force a public vote on if the bonds should be issued.    Schuchman addressed a petition that has since been filed claiming there are not enough valid signatures.   

"The burden of proof is on [the board]. Not us. [The board has to find a way to prove those signatures are not legit."  Schuchman

said before challenging the board, "You can have 30 days to go out and collect your own signatures that states 'we believe the Board of Education has the right to make any and all decisions as to what funding is necessary for the operation of Centralia High School.' You'll get 30 days to get 1,800 signatures, it took us two weeks to get 1,800 signatures."

Schuchman then suggested a compromise where the school board refinances the bonds for construction of the new high school and uses the anticipated $1-million in savings for the football stadium without adding another $1-million in new debt.  He also asked for a seven member committee which would include two school board members and five residents to look at all the football stadium options.  

Superintendent Chuck Lane said the only option for the board at this point is to let the Marion County Election Board decide if there are enough valid signatures to require a vote in the March election.  However, the board agreed they would seek public input on the best option for a stadium in the future.  While questions were raised if needed repairs or a new stadium would cost $2-million dollars, Lane fears that amount is on the low side.  

"It's quite likely we will have to start over. I'm not sure we can bring that building up to current code. It's going to cost [$2 million], if not more." Lane said.

Lane also told the board the State Board of Education would allow the district to utilize the existing Evers Field Stadium through May 9th of next year.  After that, the district would be blocked from use of the stadium until required repairs were made.   

The Centralia High School board approved a tentative budget for the coming school year.   Lane anticipates a deficit of around $100,000, but says that amount could change depending on receipt of payments from the state.   

The board heard about tentative plans by the Spanish Club to take a trip to Spain in the summer of 2015.   Fund raising efforts are currently being formulated.  The board will be asked at a future meeting to approve the trip.

The Centralia High School Board hired several new employees for the coming school year.  Stacey Dinkelman was hired as an annex extraordinary aide, Sarah Moore and Erica Mueller as part-time cafeteria employees, Blake Freels as assistant girls' tennis coach, Aspen Garrison as dance team coach and Ashley Hare as assistant volleyball coach.   

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