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NEW: Statement on Marion County Schools

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By The Staff

Editor's note: This statement was issues by Marion County Superintenent Roger Marcum Friday afternoon

Good Morning! As our community makes progress toward recovery from the winter storm, I am providing an update as to the status of MCPS.   First, all of our schools have electricity except Lebanon Elementary School. All schools have water. We have limited damage, mostly just damage to trees. Mr. Hamilton has contacted our property insurance provider and most, if not all of our repair work at LES will be covered by insurance. KSBIT provides excellent service and coverage. We experienced this first hand with the 2002 hail storm.   LES has extensive damage to the electrical service to the building as a result of a large fallen tree limb on the electrical service line  which broke the pole. RTA has located an electrical contractor, Elliott Electrical of Lexington, to work with KU in placing a new pole and repairing the service line. As you can imagine with all the damage throughout the state, it is very difficult to find contractors for repair work. RTA came to our rescue immediately. We owe them a huge thank you!   When we can return electrical service to LES, our next major obstacle will be the roads. Mr. Keen has driven many of the county roads and there are several that are not passable for a bus because of tree limbs and low hanging power/telephone/cable lines. Cars may be able to pass, but the path is not wide enough for a bus and the hanging lines are too low for a bus to pass. Mr. Keen and I will be meeting with Judge Mattingly today to discuss progress by the Marion County road crew and National Guard in clearing those roads.   The Marion County Leadership Team is meeting today to discuss our plans for re-opening school next week. We know there are still many families without electricity and our goal is to return to school as soon as possible. Being in school may serve as a refuge for many of our students who are living in cold, dark homes.   MCHS and LMS have served as shelters for our community during these difficult times. Although few families have so far used the schools for shelter, we will continue to leave them open for this purpose for as long as Judge John G. Mattingly requests and sees a need.   As a community, we will overcome just as we have many other setbacks. Judge Mattingly has done an excellent job of coordinating with everyone to see that the needs of our citizens are met now and progress toward a speedy recovery to more normal conditions.   One observation?.it is ironic that Centre Square and MCPS have been the facilities that have served as shelters for our community. Some have criticized both when funds have been spent or sought for maintaining and improving those facilities. In times of crisis and need, it seems those facilities are very important not only to our children, but also to adults. I applaud Mayor Crenshaw for his vision and commitment to the development of Centre Square as a community center. MCPS will continue to be available to meet the needs of our community!   The past week has reminded all of us just how much we take for granted in our daily lives. I hope all of you soon have warm place to sleep, hot food and a hot shower! I enjoyed all of those for the first time yesterday!