Voters approve, reject bond issues

Wednesday, September 15th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

School patrons in Poteau, Okemah, Sulphur and Keys approved bond
issues that would pay for new school construction, athletic
facilities and computers, while voters in Craig County, Keifer,
Sallisaw and Norman rejected spending proposals for school and city

The issues were among a number of proposals on ballots across
Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Okemah residents voted 478-274 for the $2.385 million bond issue
that would pay for construction of a new high school near
Interstate 40. The present school will be converted into a middle
school, Superintendent Ron Meadows said after Tuesday's balloting.
He hopes the nearly 70-year-old middle school will be torn down.

In Craig County, the vote turning down the penny sales tax was
1,222 to 442.

"I don't know if the public understands the seriousness of
this," Undersheriff Mark Hayes said. "I guess we'll wait awhile
and try again."

The state fire marshal's office sued the county last year,
citing jail overcrowding. A judge could have declared an emergency
and raised property taxes to fund improvements, Sheriff George
Vaughn said.

The sales tax would have funded an 80-bed, $4.7 million
facility. The present 32-bed, 72-year-old jail averages about 50
prisoners a day, Vaughn said.

In Norman, voters rejected five of six "quality of life"
projects totaling almost $30 million. A proposal for $290,000 to
improve the Norman Public Library passed 5,773 to 5,693.

The voters rejected a $4.14 million communications system, a
$9.9 million parks and recreation proposal and projects to extend
Front Street, improve three cultural buildings and to add parking

Mayor Bob Thompson said the city would go ahead with the library
improvements, which include new tables and chairs, carpet and a new
sound system. The other issues will go back on the city's wish

In other elections:
-- Poteau voters passed a $300,000 bond issue for school
computers by a 70 percent margin, 420 to 180. The money will
replace 190 old computers that aren't Y2K-compliant.

-- Keys School District voters approved an $845,000 bond issue to
build classrooms, restrooms and a running track for the Cherokee
County community.

-- In Coweta, residents approved a $1.9 million proposition for a
new elementary school, which will house kindergarten through fourth
grade students.

-- A $700,000 three-phase bond issue to build a junior high
school in Keifer fell a few votes short of the required 60 percent
needed for approval, marking the second time in two years the issue
has been narrowly defeated.

-- Voters in the Midwest City-Del City school district approved a
$10.46 million bond issue on a 2,259-580 vote. Portions of the bond
issue will be used to place multimedia workstations in each
elementary school and for engineering and architectural work on a
new fieldhouse at Carl Albert High School.

-- Voters in El Reno approved a $1.275 million proposal to build
and furnish an activity center at Roblyer Middle School.

-- Cache School District patrons approved a $1.1 million
construction bond proposal on a 201-110 vote.

-- Voters in the Perkins-Tryon School District approved a
$500,000 bond issue to add elementary school classrooms. The vote
was 374-170.

In Sallisaw, school patrons rejected a $2.75 million bond
proposal to build a new 1,000-seat auditorium and a new
six-classroom kindergarten center.

School officials wanted to provide full-day kindergarten classes
for the 130 first-year students in the district. The auditorium
would have included classrooms, space for theatrical scene
construction, storage and restrooms.

Patrons in Sulphur approved a $1 million bond proposal to buy
new heating and air-conditioning equipment for the elementary
school and two wings of the high school, plus a new roof for the
middle school.

Also, to comply with federal handicap-access laws, all restrooms
in the district will be upgraded, and new hardware will be added to
all doors throughout the district, which has about 1,360 students.

Also approved were two bond issues totaling $730,000 for
computers, new seating at the high school football field, parking
improvements and buses in the Cushing School District.

And in Grady County, voters passed a quarter-cent sales tax to
make renovations and maintain the county fairgrounds, which were
built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration. The
fairgrounds were used as a POW camp during World War II. The tax
will raise an estimated $469,000 a year for 15 years.

County officials have specified $4 million in renovations,
including the installation of a new floor and roof at the exhibit
building, doubling the arena's size and making the entire grounds
accessible to the handicapped. County residents also decided to
expand the enhanced 911 service by a 1,121 to 397 vote.

In Garfield County, two school districts approved bond issues.

Patrons in Garber's school district approved a $945,000 bond
issue, proceeds of which will be used to improve roofs, buy
computers, replace air- conditioning units and build a gymnasium

Voters in Kremlin-Hillsdale's district approved two issues. One
for $200,000 passed by a 158-70 margin, or 69.3 percent. It will
repair the roof on the school building, replace carpeting and buy
computers. Patrons also passed a $175,000 issue to buy three buses.

By a 69 percent margin, voters in the Perkins-Tryon school
district supported a $500,000 bond issue for elementary school
improvements, including expansion of the school library. It passed, 374-168.