One Vote Separates Hilldale Schools From $400K Bond
MUSKOGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - One vote is all that's standing between one school district and $400,000 for new buses.
Now, officials at Hilldale Public Schools in Muskogee County are prepared to do what they can to make sure every vote is counted.
If voters passed the $400,000 bond issue on Tuesday, new buses in Hilldale would help replace the aging fleet; but because they fell short by one vote, the school district may be asking for a recount.
School is back in session for the 1,850 students who attend Hilldale Public Schools, and people in the Hilldale community, like Walk Kirk, are disappointed the upgrades won’t come through.
"I was hoping it goes ahead and passes," said Hilldale resident Walk Kirk.
The two bond measures for new classrooms, facility upgrades and new buses failed.
Kirk said, "I think it's important for the kids."
There's hope the second bond measure - the $400,000 to purchase new buses for the next 10 years, which fell one vote shy of passing.
That one vote margin gives the district the ability to ask election officials for a hand recount.
Erik Puckett with Hilldale Public Schools said, "From the electronic point we're one point behind, but we believe that if we go forward with it, we probably owe it to our patrons who have really worked hard on this issue. Mistakes happen, and if that one vote is there, $400,000 is a lot of money."
The assistant superintendent said the district needs to raise separate funds for transportation needs so other money can be spent on teachers and school supplies.
"It is a safety issue, definitely,” Puckett said. “We have a good bus fleet right now, but the wear and tear on buses right now, over ten years, we need that money to replace those buses and free up general fund money."
If school administrators go ahead with the recount, they have a petition that will need seven signatures. The deadline is Friday.