Millions In Bond Issues For Schools Typically Decided By Few Voters

A board seat and more than $180 million dollars in bond proposals will be decided on by voters in four different Tulsa County school districts. Historically, these elections have extremely low turnouts which means a small crowd could decide the fate of big money.

Tuesday, February 14th 2023, 4:27 pm

By: Cal Day


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A board seat and more than $180 million dollars in bond proposals will be decided on by voters in four different Tulsa County school districts.

Historically, these elections have extremely low turnouts which means a small crowd could decide the fate of big money. Gwen Freeman, secretary of the Tulsa County Election Board, says turnout for special elections involving schools traditionally has a turnout of only 4 to 7 percent of eligible voters.

“These are extremely important issues that voters have an opportunity to make their voice heard,” said Freeman. “A the end of the day, you have a handful of voters making decisions for your entire community.”

Freeman says there are 173,295 eligible voters in Tulsa County on February 14’s Election Day. Owasso voters will decide on a school board seat and Broken Arrow voters will determine a PSO Franchise agreement. Voters living in the Union, Jenks, and Skiatook school districts will decide the fate of $183,400,000 in bond proposals. Most of that comes from Union’s $152 million dollar bond issue.

“If you only have four percent of those eligible voters for that amount of money, it gets real that you have a handful of people looking at how to spend or whether to spend $183,400,000,” said Freeman.

She says these local races are important to take part in because they affect voters daily.

“These are elections, in many cases, that affect how much you pay in taxes,” said Freeman. “It has a direct day-to-day impact on your community and the education of your children.”

Freeman says voters can familiarize themselves with their sample ballots and voting location by utilizing the online voter portal at elections.ok.gov

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