Lawton voters reject school bond proposals

Lawton_Neither of the two bond issues from Lawton Public Schools reached the 60% majority needed to pass in Tuesday's election.

The first bond for $33.5 million for construction and technology failed by in spite of the fact that 58 percent of the voters were in favor.  State law requires 60 percent to pass a bond issue. They were 123 votes short of that margin, with 3,544 in favor, to 2,566 against.

The second issue of $5 million for buses was even closer, missing by just 15 votes, with 3,655 in favor--that's 59.7 percent-- and 2,462 against.

Following the completion of the tally, LPS Superintendent Barry Beauchamp told 7News that Wednesday morning, he would be addressing a group of families who are moving to the Lawton area from Fort Bliss, Texas and said he'll actually be a bit embarrassed to tell them that Lawton citizens didn't support the bond issue. "But we're going to take care of their kids and we're going to take care of the kids we already have" Beauchamp said.  "The sad part about it was there was a misconception that this was all for those coming, and it wasn't.  It was for all the children."

The money would have been used for advancing technology at every school, a new fleet of school buses, 90 new classrooms across the district, and a new elementary school on Fort Sill.

Now, Beauchamp says they'll have to work with what they've got, even though Lawton schools are already overcrowded and another two- to three-thousand kids are coming on top of that with the BRAC-related population growth.

"I have to tell you it's going to be very difficult to incorporate that many children into the existing facilities without making some pretty severe changes in our other methods of operation. but we'll just have to sit back and look at that," Beauchamp said.

An LPS epresentative said Beauchamp will likely address the school board with the option of scaling the bond issues back and bringing them to voters again sometime in the next couple of weeks.