News Column

School storm room on Okay's bond issue list

August 5, 2014

By E.I. Hillin, Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.



Aug. 05--Editor's Note: One in a series of stories previewing Aug. 26 elections.

OKAY -- Kindergarten teacher Julie Taylor says Okay Public Schools students and staff could benefit from passage of two bond issues Aug. 26.

"We desperately need a bond to pass," Taylor said.

Okay school district voters will determine the fate of two propositions totaling $1.5 million.

Proposition 1 would provide the district with $1,245,000 to build a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) saferoom, a secure entry vestibule, a new gymnasium roof, and new gymnasium seating to the school.

Proposition 2 would provide $255,000 to purchase three new school buses.

Taylor said having a storm shelter would ease fears for teachers and students.

"Right now, we cram into the teachers' lounge," Taylor said. "It's not the ideal situation."

She said around 120 students, including her class, retreat to the teachers' lounge in accordance with the emergency plan.

"After the Moore tornadoes, that's a huge fear of mine -- trying to protect them," Taylor said.

Okay Public Schools Superintendent Charles McMahan said the school's yearly allocations were cut by $200,000 for the school year.

"Our kids deserve better than that," McMahan said.

He said the school's shrinking budget has made the bond absolutely necessary.

"First of all, the city of Okay does not have a community storm shelter," McMahan said. "This would work as classrooms for us and also as communitywide storm shelters."

The second proposition would be used to purchase transportation equipment.

"We hopefully will be able to purchase three new buses," McMahan said. "We're spending quite a bit of money every year on maintenance."

If both propositions pass, the money will come from property taxes. For every $100 of property taxes paid annually, an additional 70 cents more per month would be added to pay for the propositions.

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or ehillin@muskogeephoenix.com.

If you go

WHAT: Community meetings to discuss Okay Public Schools bond propositions.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m.Aug. 15, Okay school cafeteria; 6:30 p.m.Aug. 21, Okay Community Center.

Key dates

Aug. 20 -- Deadline to request absentee ballot, 5 p.m.

Aug. 21 -- Early voting, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Aug. 22 -- Early voting, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Aug. 23 -- Early voting, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Aug. 26 -- Election Day.

___

(c)2014 the Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.)

Visit the Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.) at muskogeephoenix.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Muskogee Phoenix (OK)


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