ELGIN, OK (KSWO) - As Elgin Public Schools turns the page on its failed $45.5 million school bond, the district's superintendent says he is still excited about the future.
The school bond received a majority of the vote Tuesday, bringing in 53 percent, but fell short of the 60 percent necessary by state law for a school bond to pass. The bond would have been used to make several improvements to the school, including adding an auditorium, a new agriculture building and a STEM building, among other things.
Elgin Public Schools Superintendent Nate Meraz said he obviously wanted the school bond to pass. He said he is encouraged by the fact that the majority of the voters also wanted it to pass. He said just a day after it failed, he is already back to work, figuring out how to make the district better for the students.
Meraz said the school will immediately begin surveying the community, trying to get any answers they can as to what went wrong.
"If you were not in favor of certain things, list those," Meraz said. "Tell us exactly when you went into that voting booth, what made you vote yes or tell us exactly what made you decide you were not for the proposition. We need that feedback from people."
Meraz said as of right now, he is unsure of what those main reasons for the bond failing are, whether it be the 12 percent increase in property tax or citizens not liking what the money would be used for. He said the fact that the bond failed does not change how badly improvements are needed.
"The needs don't stop. We put this together for a reason, we continue to grow at a rapid rate, we continue to suffer from a lack of facilities as far as our programs go. Those issues are still here," Meraz said.
Meraz said the school district has, on average, grown by 80 kids per year for the last ten years. But he said he knows that growth doesn't necessarily mean that everyone moving to the area has children and wants to pay more taxes for something they won't see the benefits of.
"All of these children are somebody's children," Meraz said. "So we ask that even if you are not directly tied to the school, that you take this as a matter of the heart and say these kids deserve it, we want to give them great facilities."
Meraz said he hopes through the bond's failure comes the opportunity to ensure the district gets any future proposed bond right.
"Best case scenario is that we come back with a proposal that meets thee people's needs, that meets the students' needs and meets the people's satisfaction and that we can keep this ball rolling. We are growing for a reason. People like our district," Meraz said.
Meraz said more people turned out for this election than any other school bond proposal in Elgin history. Meraz said that is encouraging, but also disappointing, considering only about 1,500 of the 5,000 registered voters made it to the polls.