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Carthage CSD holds project public hearing

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CARTHAGE — Over the past year and a half, the school district has been sketching the outline of a $34.5 million capital project to address maintenance and safety issues in all its buildings and move out of the Great Bend facility.

Before the Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, Interim Superintendent Judy L. Waligory presented the final project outline to a handful of district residents. Most audience members did not indicate whether they approved or disapproved of the project. However, former board member John E. Peck claimed he could not pay the levy the board was requesting.

The presentation by the board stated that the average household would have to pay $16.12 annually for a 17-year period.

However, Mr. Peck, who owns a dairy farm, calculated that he would have to pay about $150 per year.

“I have some reservations about this project,” he said. “I can’t support it. I can’t afford it.”

He said several other former board members also did not support the plans that have been unfolding for more than a year.

“I hope we’re not inching back to open classrooms,” he said.

Mr. Peck also criticized the rough blueprint for the alternative education facility. Through the capital project, the program will be moved from the Great Bend facility to a new wing in Carthage High School.

He said he had several alternative education students working on his farm. He noted they are good students but they told him they would not want to be educated in the new and improved facility.

“It’s fenced in. It’s locked up,” he said. “You put them in an atmosphere like that, you’re in deep trouble. It’s a jail.”

However, Matthew Mon-aghan, owner of SEI Design Group, a consultant to the district for the project, said the new program site will look like anything but a jail.

“It’s an independent program,” he said. “It will be much nicer than what they already have.”

A video about the project can be found on www.carthagecsd.org/videos.cfm?vid=10101.

Residents can vote on the proposed project from noon to 9 p.m. June 6 at the Carthage High School library.

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