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Board begins budget process

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@chronicle-tribune.com

Marion School Board took the first steps in making a $38 million 2019 budget possible during their meeting on Tuesday.

Bob Schultz, assistant superintendent of business affairs, presented the multi-million dollar budget to the board for advertisement, noting a $400,000 requested increase. On one hand, Schultz said the school corporation has been losing out on increasing amounts of money in their operations fund since property tax caps were implemented in 2010. The corporation is expecting to lose $2.2 million in tax revenue due to the caps, according to Schultz.

On the other hand, the corporation is expecting a total payout of $1.2 million in funding from the state due to an anticipated increase in enrollment. Schultz said they should receive $600,000 in November, and another $600,000 in December. He explained that data predicted the corporation would be 105 students down, but he and Superintendent Brad Lindsey noted they’re “pretty confident” the numbers will show a “significant” increase in student enrollment across their schools due to the Little Giants Preschooler moving to kindergarten.

“Kids are coming here and sticking around when they see all we have to offer,” Schultz said, mentioning the arts and aviation programs. “We ought to have a banner for our planes flying over the other schools that says ‘If your kid went to Marion, he could be flying this plane.’”

Out of the $38 million budget, Schultz said the board can expect around $36.5 million in expenses. He added that he usually came within $8,000 under the approved budget, with the addition of publicly-approved appropriations “that are never used, just a precaution.”

A public hearing for the budget is scheduled for Sept. 25 at Marion High School.

This week, Marion High School is celebrating homecoming with its first ever Homecoming Parade, board members said.

The festivities begin Friday with the Powderpuff football game during the homecoming pep session at 2:25 p.m. at Dick Lootens Stadium. The parade will begin at 5 p.m. and head west on 26th Street starting at South Washington Street, turn right onto South Carey Street and conclude at West 24th Street. Tailgating is from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and a tenderloin and fish fry to benefit the choir will start at 5 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.

Kick off for the homecoming game against Richmond is set for 7 p.m. at Dick Lootens Stadium, with the honoring of Marion’s newest inductees into the Hall of Distinction during halftime.