COMANCHE COUNTY, OK (KSWO) - Monday night at Flower Mound Public Schools, citizens got to voice their concerns on a $6 million bond proposal that would raise their property taxes 48 percent for 14 years. Flower Mound School Superintendent Dax Trent says they are in dire need of more space and safety for their students in their small, award-winning school. He says the district has tried to pass a bond eight years ago, but it fell well short of the 60 percent super-majority needed for approval.
One of their obvious concerns was that a 48 percent increase on their property taxes was a lot. The increase varies for each resident, but for the average homeowner that is a 225-dollar bump in their annual tax. Also, even though all Flower Mound kids who live in the district get into the Pre-K through 5th grade school, about 80 percent of the student body are transfers from the city of Lawton. They felt that the Lawton parents who send their kids to the school won't have to share the burden of the tax hike, but still benefit from it.
The superintendent spent the night answering questions and says the purpose of the bond is for the safety and benefit of the students.
"It scares me to death," said Trent.
Trent says every time the sirens blare and the kids have to take cover for a tornado, they go to a storage closet in the school.
"If it doesn't hit you here then it'll hit somewhere else," said Trent. "But I don't feel like we are prepared if it does come."
The lack of safe spots for the students to go during a tornado, and the lack of classrooms and storage space are the prime reasons behind the $6 million school bond. The new, stand-alone building is slated to be built on the west side of the school. That will include 3 pre-k classrooms, 2 kindergarten classrooms and a multipurpose area with a stage. Four of the classrooms will be safe rooms that will hold all 350 of the students, plus the staff.
Trent says this isn't about growing the school because he believes they have the right balance of students and teachers that have made the school successful.
"It's about maintaining and securing the levels we are at, and being able to look decades and generations further and being able to do that for our children," said Trent.
A former student of the school and now member of the school board Jared Turner says he wants to see the school he had so many memories in, get better for his kids who go there now.
"This school has a lot of traditions about being a small community where everybody knows everybody, and we want to maintain that," said Turner. "We don't want to get away from that at all. But it's also at the same time our facility is deteriorating, and we just need to upgrade if we want to keep that going, keep that tradition going, keeping the community together. This is just part of it."
Trent says if the bond passes, they will be able to give classes that are now sharing a room or in the portable buildings, their own room in the building. And then they will use the portable buildings for storage, which is what they were originally purchased for.
Election day for the bond will be on August 23rd.