February 2015 Bond Issue
Full Width School related picture
Full Width School related picture

Well, the bond issue passed by about 68%. The first thing I need to say is thank you for voting. Whether you voted “yea” or “nay”, thanks for voting. Somewhere around 500 of you voted. I think that says a lot about the community and the interest taken in your school. In a past note I mentioned that I believe the local school district is where democracy has its loudest voice. Thanks for speaking. For those that voted “No”, I think there are things in this bond issue that you agreed with, just not enough to change a vote. For those that voted “Yes”, I think there are things in this bond issue that you disagreed with, but not enough to change a vote. Both thoughts are valid. In the coming days into weeks into months planning, revisions, headaches, and ulcers (mine) will go into a final product. When it is all said and done we want an entire community, 100%, to be proud and satisfied of the school district that serves you. I am not sure any community ever achieves unity, but harmony sounds pretty good. I have had people congratulate me today. I guess much like needing someone to stand on top and get shot at, there needs to be someone to pat on the back too. But, it is not me that did anything or deserves any congratulations. I congratulate you on expressing your support – no matter how you voted – for your school. I will keep you updated and informed and answer any concerns or listen to any input you have to offer. Thanks again. 


February – 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Cafeteria – Come and Go Q&A for bond issue

BOND ISSUE – Todd Corbin will be our next school board member. Todd is unopposed  for the post so there is no need for a February election for that position.  However, there is a vote – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10. Your School Board is calling for a BOND ISSUE to continue the growth and improvement of our facilities. As the weeks go by, and they will go by fast, I will continue to send you information and answer any questions you have. The proposed improvements will address fine arts, technology, science, safety and athletic needs, paved parking and roadway improvements, remodeling older sections of the building, providing adequate  
classrooms for growth, and making the campus even more practical for community use. The bond issue will provide over 8 MILLION DOLLARS IN ENHANCEMENTS AND IMPROVEMENTS AND IS NOT PROJECTED TO RAISE YOUR TAXES. This is possible through financial management, timing, and community growth. To participate in the voting process you must be a registered voter in the district by JANUARY 16th. As I wrote earlier, time moves fast. These projects are for the benefit of your families and our community - ask questions and give input. 

BOND ISSUE – FEBRUARY 10. $8.5 MILLION DOLLARS WITH NO PROJECTED TAX INCREASE.  The proposed improvements will address fine arts, technology, science, safety and athletic needs, paved parking and roadway improvements, remodeling older sections of the building, providing adequate classrooms for growth, and making the campus even more practical for community use. So, what do we get?  Fine Arts – The main feature is an AUDITORIUM built where the tennis courts now sit.  Don’t worry NEW TENNIS COURTS are also going to be built. We will not build an auditorium that only gets used a few times a year.  The facility incorporates a space for FOUR COMPUTER CENTERS.  Included in the building is a NEW BAND ROOM.  What about the band room we now have?  Oakdale will have a NEW STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) CENTER.  In the next note I will continue to give you more details and there are plans for Q&A sessions.  These projects are for the benefit of your families and our community - ask questions and give input.

BOND ISSUE – FEBRUARY 10. $8.5 MILLION DOLLARS WITH NO PROJECTED TAX INCREASE.  The proposed improvements will address fine arts, technology, science, safety and athletic needs, paved parking and roadway improvements, remodeling older sections of the building, providing adequate classrooms for growth, and making the campus even more practical for community use. So, what do we get?  Athletic needs - I already mentioned the TENNIS COURTS in a previous note but there is also a SIX LANE TRACK that will encircle a FOOTBALL / SOCCER FIELD.  The track will help with all sports, not just cross country and track.  I could include it with the safety items also since our students will not have to leave campus to train.  The plan is to keep the front of the old gym as a field house and restroom area. I will give you information on the old gym structure in the next note, coming on Monday – but think “really cool”. The outdoor facilities will be available for use to the community.  We first started building our current facility in 1992.  The area from the front doors to the cafeteria doors has undergone some changes but it is due for a cosmetic make-over.  CARPETING, LIBRARY EXPANSION, RESTROOM REVISIONS are all a part of bringing the entry and the 2-4 grade pods up to the standards of the rest of the facility.  These projects are for the benefit of your families and our community - ask questions and give input.

Bond Issue – Q&A Time.  Over the course of the last couple of weeks I have been asked a few questions, given a few observations, and have been told of questions / observations from other sources.  Some things just don’t have definitive answers at this time.  Some items of interest are in the scope of the project but it is too early in the process to have a complete definition.  Maybe, I can help give some perspective or clarification to some things.

WEST SIDE PARKING:  We have the architects looking into this.  It may be possible to locate some parking between proposed tennis courts and track.  Can we save, or at least some of, the trees?  Are we willing to sacrifice a row of new parking on the east side?  Tough questions because we want it all.  We will not sacrifice trees or parking without ulcers and headaches.

NEW SAFETY FENCE: We want to encircle the campus.  Some of the fence may be decorative and practical (columns and rod iron).  Some of the fence may just be practical.  I don’t think anyone wants just plain chain link, but in some places coated fencing or another alternative may be used.   We still want a school not a prison, but it will help put up some type of barrier.  Gates? I would not suppose so because of the constant use of the facilities every night and weekends and the logistics of entering and exiting all day long.

OLD GYM / NEW PAVILLION:  I am actually a little excited about this one.  There is a significant cost to tear down the old place with nothing to show for it.  It happens and sometimes not much can be done about it.  However, the roof of the old gym is somewhat of a piece of art compared to some structures today and there is a lot of community history involved.  The design of the building is pretty intriguing in that all the walls can disappear and the roof structure can stand alone on its piers.  Situated in the middle of the outdoor athletic areas with parking surrounding it, I think we might have the best (read outdoor recess also) pavilion in OKC – and for not much more than tearing it completely down and being left with nothing.

CLASSROOMS:  As we first started exploring building new classrooms the problem became that we would spend more than twice the usual amount per/sqft because of structural issues. We will be building two specialty classrooms (band and drama).  This will make available two classrooms now being used for those specialties.  In the first grade wing we have three available classrooms and because of the technology part of the new Technology Center / Auditorium we will have places for the services taking place in those now.  In the PK – K wing we have one available classroom.  So, although we are not building new classrooms, we are re-capturing some classrooms and will have a total of six classrooms for growth.

CARPOOL:  The concept drawing eliminates access to Sooner Road because of the sports facility.  We may be able to incorporate that drawback and the west side parking question and find a good answer.  Maybe.  Also, carpool is about traffic flow and bus loading procedure.  We have some flexibility in both.  The end result will probably be that during construction it will be so painful with both parking and carpool, that what we end up with will seem like heaven.

BOND ISSUE – FEBRUARY 10. The proposed improvements will address fine arts, technology, science, safety and athletic needs, paved parking and roadway improvements, remodeling older sections of the building, providing adequate classrooms for growth, and making the campus even more practical for community use. So, what do we get?  

I do not do social media but it is my understanding that what we get is some conversation about the old gym and the baseball / softball areas.  Oakdale School, as a part of curriculum or program, does not use either of these areas for their designated purposes.  We do not have baseball or softball teams and have replaced those sports with others that have much better participation and success.  Frankly, even if we had the numbers, independent sports organizations such as EASI provide a more appropriate and more competitive program that we were ever able to establish in all the years that we tried.  We have a cross country team of 30+ students that have to run in the neighborhoods.   We have a track team of 60+ students who have to make arrangements with EMHS to train.  We need a track.  Every day we have recess but every day is not sunshine and dry and some days have just way too much sunshine.  We need more hard-surfaced areas, ideally covered, for everyday use and special events. 

The problem is that in the process of addressing what the school needs, which is our primary responsibility, our community may have to use convenient resources differently.  So, how does the school help the community?  Our gyms can be scheduled more efficiently.  We may have to pack tighter but there is room to pack.  We may not have a backstop but a space the size of a football / soccer field has a lot of room to teach the skills of baseball.  We are not kicking anyone off, we want community use, but they may have to adjust to a different format.  Community access to a track to walk and jog safely, access to good tennis courts, use of a covered pavilion for family time (the basketball goals will stay), still being able to use some gym time, and a large field for all types of sports practices – we are trying.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION / BOND ISSUE – FEBRUARY 10. So, what do we get?  Well, this time I am going to tell you what you don’t get – a tax increase.  We are paying off some previous bonds, our district property value has increased, and we pay close attention to the date of issue and terms of the bonds.  We can avoid a tax increase by financial management.

The first item of interest is something called a “mill”.  In the United States, it is a notional unit equivalent to 11000 of a United States dollar (a tenth of a cent).  Your taxes are expressed in terms of mills.

The easy version.  What your house is worth X .11 (11% evaluation) – $1000 (homestead) X Oakdale millage rate (.10181 – move that decimal 3 places left) = Taxes.  House = $200K / Taxes = $2138.  Oakdale millage rate = 101.81, Edmond = 105.57, Jones = 112.25, Luther = 96.17, Mid-Del = 119.67, Deer Creek = 132.03.  Bottom line – it’s not so bad living in the Oakdale School tax district.  The district goal is to leave these numbers as stable and as comparable as possible.  Some districts do not like any bond millage (Guthrie).  Some districts do not mind a high bond millage (Deer Creek).  Most districts are comfortable when the bond millage is fairly stable (Edmond).  With this bond issue, we are trying to continue our past financial goal – stable and comparable.

I have presented this bond issue as $8.5 million.  The actual value, wording on the ballot, is $8.605 million (Wednesday’s note will have this).  We do not get all the money at the same time.  Three series of bonds are sold – financial management.  The same day we vote on this bond issue Edmond schools will be voting on a $91 million - $90,660,000.00 – bond issue (No, even if you have students who attend EMHS you cannot vote in their election).  Their aim and their financial presentation is exactly like ours.  It can be done with the goal of meeting district needs and financially consistent.

I hope some of this has helped or at least answered some questions.  These projects are for the benefit of your families and our community - ask questions and give input.

This may be TMI but some of you may want it.  Goto - http://www.oklahomacounty.org/assessor/ , Search Records, Live Property Search, Yes I Accept, Fill in your name, Submit Query, Find your property.  As you look at the page you are now on you will see a box with a TXD 229 (some may just have 29, lucky you) – write it down.  You will also see a place to “click and view taxes on this property”.  Now you can see how much your property taxes are – write it down.  Go back to the Assessors home page.  Find Tax Rates, Current Tax Rates.  This page lets you see what your millage (second paragraph) is and it breaks it down for you into Total (101.81), City (15.45), School (62.78), Vo-Tech (0) (yes, your students can still go to vo-tech in high school), and County (23.58).   All school taxes include 41.91 mills that are built in for the daily operation of the district.  The rest is bond millage. You can take your total tax bill multiply it by the percentages of each category and see where your local tax dollars go.

PROPOSITION

Shall Elementary School District Number 29 of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, incur an indebtedness by issuing its bonds in the sum of Eight Million Six Hundred Five Thousand Dollars ($8,605,000) to be issued in series to provide funds for the purpose of constructing, equipping, repairing and remodeling school buildings, acquiring school furniture, fixtures and equipment and acquiring and improving school sites, and levy and collect an annual tax, in addition to all other taxes, upon all the taxable property in such District sufficient to pay the interest on such bonds as it falls due and also to constitute a sinking fund for the payment of the principal thereof when due, said bonds to bear interest not to exceed the rate of ten (10%) percentum per annum, payable semi-annually and to become due serially within five (5) years from their date?

And that is what you will be voting on.  Can the school district issue bonds, one vote – three bond sales, in the total amount of $8.605 million to build, improve, and furnish facilities and can we collect the taxes to do so?  One little item – by constitution 10% interest on school bonds is the maximum allowed.  Our last bonds sold for less than 1% interest.

Series I, II, and III

To renovate, repair and remodel the Main East School Building to include, but not be limited to: replacing carpet, light fixtures and doors; and remodeling restrooms. To construct, renovate, repair, remodel, equip and furnish athletic facilities including track and tennis courts.  To construct, equip and furnish a Fine Arts/Technology Center.  To acquire and install furniture, fixtures, equipment and fencing and to construct, renovate or repair parking lots.

And that is what we want to do with the funding.  Can we remodel from the cafeteria south?   Can we build some athletic facilities, primarily tennis courts and a track?  Can we build a multipurpose Fine Arts / Technology Center?  Can we do some paving and fencing?  My best guess as of now would be Arts / Tech 60%, Remodel 8%, Paving and Fencing 8%, Athletics 18%, and Other 6%.

You vote Tuesday, February 10, from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Oakdale Baptist Church.

We will try to answer any questions you have.

The bond issue election is tomorrow. Elections are being held in multiple school districts across the state including the $91 million dollar issue in Edmond where our students primarily attend high school. We know that while there is something for everyone that also means that probably no one is completely satisfied. That is why school bond elections require a 60% approval rate instead of a simple majority. It is also why at this point the proposals cannot be presented in complete detail because there would still be six months worth of input, revisions, and planning to do. While some people want fewer and fewer school districts, and sometimes for good reasons, one thing is certain – the local school district, all 500 plus of us, still represents the most direct impact of democracy we have. Vote.