Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
Voters in the Sharon-Mutual School District will have an opportunity to vote for a bond issue designed to not only improve the quality of education for school children but also to ensure their safety, said Sharon-Mutual Superintendent Jeff Thompson.
The bond issue will be a 10-year, $8 million bond on which the collection of taxes will not begin until the last two bonds are paid off.
The election is set for June 11.
Those former bonds include a roof project bond approved in 2004 that is due to be paid off June of 2014 and a transportation bond, which will be paid off in January of 2015.
The same bond issue failed January 8 of this year. It failed by 11 votes, Thompson said.
"It passed 57 to 43 (percent) but it needed a supermajority and that would have been 11 more votes for it."
The bond will cost taxpayers 9.69 cents for every $100 they pay in property tax. That means if a tax payer has a $500 property tax bill at the end of the year, they will instead pay $548.45.
For that price, both the elementary school in Sharon and the middle and high school in Mutual will be updated to include safe rooms, Thompson said.
Included in the new building improvement design, Thompson listed the following:
1. Six classrooms for the Sharon Elementary School-of those six class rooms, two will be computer labs with updated equipment, technology and furniture. Four will be classrooms that will also serve as safe rooms. The safe rooms will be built to FEMA standards and will include hardware so they can be totally shut down during weather emergencies.
2. The Mutual campus will have five classrooms added. Of those five, two will be computer labs with updated equipment, technology and furniture. Four of the five classrooms will be safe rooms built, like the ones in Sharon, to FEMA standards with FEMA hardware for shut in.
3. The bond will also include funds to renovate the math and science building at Mutual as well as to add air conditioning, which is nonexistent at present, in the Mutual gym.
4.The bond will include money also for an air conditioning system to be built into the kitchen at Mutual, which does not have a functioning cooling system.
According to Sharon Mutual School Board President Jeremy Clem the improvements to both schools are long overdue.
"The safe rooms for Mutual are needed," Clem said. "Our plan there right now is to load everyone on a bus and go to the First Christian Church and if you have ever tried to load a bunch of people in buses quickly, you know it isn't going to happen fast enough."
Clem also stressed the need for the community to invest in its schools before students in this region fall behind in the use of current technology and face a business climate in which they are unable to compete.
"I don't want to turn this school into some fancy over-the-top thing," Clem said. " But I do think you just have to maintain your schools . . . because when you come back after years being away...well...those schools are our home...they are just ...home."