Emory Bryan, News On 6
OILTON, Oklahoma -- Voters in Oilton will make a choice Tuesday. It's a sales tax for schools.
The Oilton school district faced a problem 10 years ago - with property taxes flat - how to raise a little extra money for school improvements. The idea turned into a one cent sales tax that voters approved and will vote on again Tuesday.
Oilton may be the only Oklahoma school district with a dedicated sales tax for buildings. With the money, the district built a covered walkway on the front of the high school, added lighting to a baseball field and built a new cafeteria for the elementary school.
Oilton uses the sales tax money to supplement the property tax. The last bond issue paid for a new wing on the elementary school, but the sales tax helped finish it off.
"It really enables us to do renovations, different projects around our campus without having to constantly go back to the patrons and keep asking them to approve that," said Oilton Superintendent Matt Posey.
Posey says the sales tax generates $50 to $80 thousand dollars a year. He said the funding is more flexible than money from a bond issue, and is ideal for smaller projects. He credits the sales tax as the reason their schools are in better shape than most.
"We're very fortunate to have facilities that new in that great shape, and a lot of it goes back to being able to maintain those facilities through the sales tax," he said.
The sales tax paid for sidewalks around the elementary school and a new roof on the high school. Posey hopes voters approve the tax again and thinks other districts should consider it too.
"I think it's something, especially in the rural areas that people ought to look at to supplement your funding," Posey said.
If voters approve, the school sales tax would continue as is without an increase. But if they turn it down, the sales tax in Oilton would drop by one percent.