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Historical bond vote proposed for February

Three new schools, a performing arts center and much more might soon be coming to Mustang’s growing school district.

On Monday, the district announced its plans to call for a $181.28 million bond issue that voters will decide the fate of on Feb. 14. The school board did not officially call for the election in Monday’s monthly school board meeting, but instead, heard from Superintendent Sean McDaniel on what the bond issue will include and also more on the numbers behind the bond amount.

First, McDaniel explained that the district’s Net Assessed Value grew considerably. He said the $181.28 million bond is based on having a 6 percent NAV growth and maintaining the targeted tax rate at 28 mills.

Years ago, the Mustang school board decided to maintain a 28 mills tax rate, said school spokesperson, Shannon Rigsby.

“The NAV growth for the district has been so great, we’ve never ended up reaching 28,” she added. “Based on other large schools in the state, Mustang falls almost in the middle regarding millage rates.”

The district’s Long Range Planning Committee, which has been meeting the last two years identified the bond projects. Rigsby said “more projects than would be possible” were discussed.

Eight projects were slated as “must-haves.”

They include a new elementary, intermediate and middle schools; new band room at Canyon Ridge Intermediate and a new performing arts center at Mustang High School.

“The auditorium and stage we have at MHS was constructed in 1971,” Rigsby said. “It was a fantastic facility for a 3A school, but as a 6A school district with the fifth largest high school, we outgrew it years ago.

“We cannot get our entire choir or band on the stage. Our theatre students can only pick certain plays that will fit on the stage.”

Other projects that remain under consideration, Rigsby said, focus on renovations and remodels.

“These deal primarily with common spaces used by kids, teachers and staff that we have outgrown in each building like media centers, computer labs and officer areas,” she said. “We also have buildings with several entrances and unless you’ve been to the school before, you don’t know which entrance is the main entrance.”

The planning committee believes the “consideration” projects need to be “prioritized and then plugged into the package as funding is available.”

School leaders met Wednesday to begin looking at project-by-project estimates including a range of price per square foot and total square footage per project.

The district’s largest bond issue to date has been approximately $99 million. McDaniel previously has explained the district is limited to taking out bonds for 10 percent of its net assessed valuation. In May, the school official said that valuation equated to $120 million based on February figures. He noted, though, the valuation was subject to change when updated numbers were released, which occurred in August.

School leaders will discuss the bond issue in-depth at a 7 p.m. Oct. 20 workshop. At the special board meeting, the district plans to have construction costs estimates.

In order to have a Feb. 14 election, the board must call for the election in November.

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