Marmaduke School Ready for Students Today

April 25, 2006 – Posted at 3:45 p.m. CST

MARMADUKE, AR – It's back to school time for Marmaduke! The school district is set to resume classes Wednesday morning. Buses will run regular routes. Any families who have been relocated outside of the district due to the storm and are in need of transportation can call MHS at 870-597-2723.

It's taken a lot of hard work from staff and students in order to clean up the Marmaduke School District.

"I have been here helping and getting things cleaned up and moving stuff and getting the school ready," said 8th grader Jeff Presson.

"To be out of school for 17 days is quite amazing to me," said Marmaduke Superintendent Debbie Smith, "Actually, the amount of work that has been done by these people is astounding."

Even though Wednesday isn't the first day of the school year, it is a day of new beginnings for a number of students.

"We welcome the parents to come into the district tomorrow. We want them to feel comfortable with the situation we have," said Smith.

A situation that includes new traffic patterns into the school and new mobile classrooms, giving students some sense of normalcy after a tornado destroyed their community on April 2nd.

"This is one of the 14 mobile classrooms that will now house the kindergarten through 6 th grades. For over 400 students, Wednesday will be a new classroom, but the same routine," said Smith, "It's very good news for the community right now and they need it."

While the students have enjoyed the time away from the classroom, there is also a readiness to get back school.

"I'm ready to go so everyone can see each other and have something to do," laughed Presson.

Although the school is suitable for classes, a lot of work remains. The roof for the elementary school must be completely repaired and the heating and cooling systems must be replaced.

"There is a tremendous amount of work that will have to go on at this campus over the summer," said Smith.

The school hopes to have everything done before students return in the fall, but hasn't ruled out the use of mobile classrooms next year.

The Marmaduke school district has made a request to the State Board of Education to grant a waiver on all 17 days that were missed following the April 2nds tornado. The board will hear the case when they meet again on May 8th.