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LPS lackluster in funding comparison

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LAWTON, Okla._ LPS is hoping the upcoming bond election on April 1 will provide more funding for a variety of upgrades, including building repairs and technology improvements.

"Your summer programs, summer schools, some of those types of things, we had to let those programs go," says Diane Branstetter, LPS chief financial officer. 

Branstetter remembers a time back in 2002 when she had to recommend serious cuts to the school board. Cuts she does not want to make again. 

"That was probably the most difficult days of our lives at the school district," says Branstetter.

LPS officials are hoping voters approve a continuation of the 2004 bond issue on April 1. The district would receive $30 million through 2024, money that Superintendent Tom Deighan says is much needed. 

"We currently have identified almost $25 million worth of roof repairs and heating and central air conditioning upgrades that are needed, that are critical," says Deighan.

What the district is asking for could be called conservative compared to neighboring schools like Geronimo, Duncan, and other districts around the state.

"The facts are that our neighboring districts all around us do invest more locally into their school districts," says Deighan. 

Norman schools receive upwards of $20 million a year and voters in Edmond approved the district for more than $35 million each year. Lawton is all the way at the bottom with a little more than $3 million.

"Lawton operates with $20 million dollars less per year than the districts that we compete with against in sports, academically...," says Deighan.

Lawtonians will vote on two separate proposals on Tuesday. The first, a $22 million proposal for building repairs, technology upgrades and transportation improvements. The second proposal, if approved, would allocate $8 million to be spent on new buses. 

Both proposals need to pass with a super majority of at least 60 percent of the vote to be approved. The district projects there would be no tax increase for Lawton residents. 

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