Duncan_Next Tuesday, voters in Duncan Public Schools District will vote on a school bond that could bring their schools into the 21st Century with new buses, roofs, and electrical systems. Duncan Schools administrators are asking for improvements because most of the school buildings were constructed long ago before requirements for new technology were known.
Both bonds total a little over $1.5 million, and administrators say while this may sound like a lot of money, it would go toward upgrading 50-year-old buildings. Duncan schools provide a good learning environment for the students if they study using books, but they fall far short when it comes to technology.
Duncan Public School Superintendent Glenda Cobb says an upgrade is long overdue. "When the majority of our buildings were built, computers really did not exist." she said. Now, computers are just as common as books in a classroom. Cobb says the schools need their own electrical system - called "clean electricity." She says day-to-day operations wouldn't interfere with this sort of electricity. "Electricity that's not interfered with by, say, the custodian plugging in the vacuum cleaner," she said.
Cobb says that if students and teachers do not have "clean electricity," learning while using a computer comes to a halt. "Computers can flicker and go out, and what happens is if a student is engaged on instructional software, they lose that connection, and can lose all the work they have done," she said. The price tag for "clean electricity" - almost $600,000.
The district says it also needs new school buses. "Several of our buses have in excess of 100,000 miles on them, and I wouldn't want to go on a long trip in my personal vehicle if I had it on the road for too long," Cobb said. Cost of new school buses - just over $900,000.
Cobb says while the total amount of the bond issues is large, the cost is spread out. "To a property owner, for every $1,000 dollars that they pay in property taxes, their property taxes will go up $5.54 a month." She says a good turnout next week is vital.
School bond issues take a super-majority - 60% - to pass. Cobb says she's optimistic about the vote since the last three passed with more than a 70% majority. If the issues pass, the increase in property taxes would begin in 2010. Voting day is Tuesday, April 7, polling places are open from 7 AM-7 PM.