Catoosa Voters To Decide On School Bond Issue Tuesday

Monday, November 11th 2019, 7:11 pm

Voters in Catoosa will decide on a school bond issue Tuesday that would raise property taxes.

If the bond passes, the district will buy land for two new buildings, replacing the early childhood and elementary schools, which are several decades old. The land the district would purchase is nearly 30 acres, just west of the football field.

"When we talk about a 4.99 percent increase, people worry. That's, 'Oh my gosh, taxes are going up.' But it's $4.99 per $100," Superintendent Alicia O'Donnell said.

The second phase, which would come up in an election in 2022, would provide about $40 million for the buildings. O'Donnell said there would not be a tax increase with that vote.

Both the Helen Paul Learning Center and Cherokee Elementary would be replaced.

"When you pour lots of money into an old building, it's an old building that's been remodeled. Instead of having a new, state-of-the-art building. And that's really our plan," O'Donnell said.

Over the years the district said both buildings have seen maintenance and remodeling. Right now at Helen Paul, the district is having to do some electrical re-wiring.

"Because we have so much technology, and we have computers - you start getting into so many things being plugged in," O'Donnell said. "That's an issue."

If the second phase passes, and if there is money left over, the district would like to build a performing arts center.

"My hope would be that we could start a theater program," O'Donnell said.

For now, her focus is on new spaces for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

"The kids are in a safe place. It's just if we're going to truly provide the atmosphere that they need for state-of-the-art learning, then we need to make some changes," O'Donnell said.

The district said it would also like to continue making upgrades to the middle and high schools in the future.


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