Empire Schools looks to get community involved with future decisions

Empire Schools looks to get community involved with future decisions

LAWTON, OK (TNN) - The Empire School Board and Superintendent hosted a meeting Monday to discuss school finances, and to get the community involved in deciding where that money should go.

One area superintendent Justin Smith says he wants the school to focus attention on is making additions to the curriculum.

“At country schools like ours, students often have the opportunity to go other places, so we want to make sure we are giving the same education to our students that they could get at places like Duncan, Marlow, Comanche or others," said Superintendent Justin Smith.

Smith also says that when the upper level courses run out, students can go CU Duncan Branch for concurrent courses, but that has caused scheduling and transportation problems for many students.

“We are going to look at some online class through Western Oklahoma University in Altus, so that students have that option to come here and take online classes, rather than leaving the school so much," said Smith.

One parent at Empire says that as a parent, knowing the school wants to better the curriculum is important.

"We all know that the budget just doesn't allow for some of those things to take place, but as a parent, you'd like to have your kids be able to take some of the classes that would benefit them in the future."

Superintendent Smith used Monday’s meeting to provide progress on their 2017 bond project, including the remaining money left from it. He says the interest from the community tonight may spark another in the fall.

"We're looking at the possibility of a new bond next year, those needs will be determined mostly by the public, and we are starting that discussion today."

Smith says getting the community involved is in the entire town of Empire's best interest.

“It’s their tax dollars that are paying for all of these things.”

Monday’s meeting also gave the community a chance to critique and praise the work Smith has done in his first year.

“We all trust him, and that he’s going to make the best decisions for our community. It’s a comfortable feeling to know he’s going to take your best interest and do what’s right for you and your kids.”

Smith says they have close to 250,000 left from the 2017 bond, and that will go towards adding a new roof and floor to the old gym, making that space usable again.

They are also renovating the locker rooms, concession stand and bathrooms at the athletic complex.

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