The Woodward News

January 9, 2013

School bond effort comes up just short

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Sharon-Mutual Public School students will have to wait a bit longer for new classrooms and technology.

A building bond that would have provided for additions at both Sharon-Mutual schools was voted down by slight margin in an election Tuesday.

The proposed $7.92 million bond called for an additional 6 new classrooms at the Sharon-Mutual Elementary  site, including 2 computer rooms and 4 classrooms.  The bond also would have financed 5 new classrooms at Sharon-Mutual High School, with 2 serving as computer rooms and the other 3 as general classrooms. Four of the rooms at each site would have doubled as tornado shelters in the event of tornadic weather, and the bond also alloted $1 million for furnishing the classrooms and equipment such as computers and possibly iPads for students' education.

Sharon-Mutual Superintendent Jeff Thompson was a bit disappointed that there weren't enough votes to make all those improvements a reality, but still pleased with the support that was received.

"I felt like our school board and our staff worked really hard putting the proposal together for our patrons, a proposal that would help our students' education. I appreciate that effort and I also appreciate the tremendous support from the community with a 56% approval, that's solid support, unfortunately it wasn't the 60% super majority the bond needed to pass," Thompson said.

He said the bond was just shy of the required 60% approval. Of the 262 votes, 147 were in favor and 115 against.

"If we'd have swung 11 noes to yeses we'd have passed the bond. Despite this setback though I think community support was fantastic. We're happy we got the majority, the rules just require you win by 20%," he said.

While no specific plans to move forward with a new bond proposal have yet been discussed with the Sharon-Mutual School Board, Thompson seems hopeful that the district may be able to build upon current support in future efforts.

He said one of the first steps will be to find out the concerns of patrons who opposed the bond and how the district can better present the proposal in the future to get the necessary votes.

"In some capacity we're going to do something because of the need for technology education, but at this time I don't know what that will be. In the future we may hold another meeting to address the public's concerns for next time. We'll more than likely put something forward again, but at this time we haven't been able to sit down and discuss it yet," Thompson said.

The superintendent reiterated the importance of the proposals listed in the bond, emphasizing the necessity of the computer labs and computer equipment.

"With the growing role technology is playing in the world, we really feel we need to do something to provide kids with technology education," he said.