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Duncan school district asking for new bond issues for transportation and technology upgrades

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO)-The Duncan Public School will ask residents to support two bond issues totaling just over 3-million dollars to provide new transportation, technology, and security upgrades.

The first proposal will continue to provide new computers for students and teachers in every grade, along with security cameras through the schools in the district. The money for the second bond will help buy new buses and SUV's for student transportation to school and various activities.The election is set for May 9, 2017.

The money will be funded through a 1.37 percent increase in property taxes, which means an additional one dollar and 37 cents for every 100 dollars you pay.  Superintendent Melonie Hau said that dollar can improve the safety of students and staff as well as keep them up to date with today's technology, but she knows from past experience that getting that 60 percent super-majority from voters won't be easy.

Four out of the past five school bond issues have failed within the Duncan Public Schools District. Superintendent Melonie Hau said they are trying to get voters back on track for this year's proposal.

"I actually have been hearing a lot of great support from the community exactly because of where we are with the budget right now. A bond issue could help a school offset cost for in structural materials, technology and capital improvements. So schools that are passing bond issues are using those bond funds to help not put a drain on their general fund revenue and that's what we hope to do with this bond," Hau said.

Hau said they have a clear need for transportation upgrades. Forty-five percent of students ride buses to and from school. Their newest buses are 9 years old.  The oldest are 2002 models and have plenty of miles on them.

"We have buses that are breaking down and our bus mechanic is having a difficult  time, he is doing a great job but its difficult for him to keep up with just the repairs that need to happen on the buses we have had some engines have gone out on buses", said Hau.

But that's not all. Last November, one of their activity buses caught fire on the way home from a basketball tournament, and they had to use another school's bus to get the kids home. Hau said that incident scared parents and students.

"Thank goodness we had an amazing coach who made sure that our kids were taken care off but that is a very scary situation and I don't think our parents want that to happen at all and so the bond issue can really help us make sure that we have buses that are safe and newer", Hau said.

Hau said parents have also pushed for greater access to computers for their students. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed two years ago said technology upgrades were important to them. Middle school students were provided computers in a bond from 2012.  This proposal would reach every grade.

"Our kids are ready they are very excited we already have some classrooms that are fully one to one and kids are thriving in those environments so we are looking forward to the community supporting this bond so we can keep that learning and energy happening", Hau said.

Hau said she wants people in the community informed about the bonds. She already has plans to visit faculty meetings and events in the community.

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