School board considers $47.5M bond issue

The Mustang Board of Education on Monday authorized Superintendent Charles Bradley to prepare a $47.5 million bond issue proposal for an April 7 election.
Once the language of the proposal is ready, the board plans to hold a special meeting to potentially put it on the ballot.
Mustang Public Schools urgently need this bond issue to accommodate its burgeoning enrollment, he said.
The money would include $27 million for a new elementary school and $8 million of operating money.
The remainder would be interest payments.
The new elementary would replace the current Mustang Elementary School, and the present school would become a pre-K center.
The proposal potentially could raise taxes, although growing property valuation might generate a large portion of the revenue to cover the proposed increase funding, Bradley said.
At most, the bond issue would raise taxes $22 per year on each $100,000 of valuation.
While residential growth has been off the charts, crowding many schools, the opening of the Mustang extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike is bound to increase commercial development, boosting tax revenue, he said.
“Developers are gobbling up land around the turnpike,” Bradley said.
“All indications point to higher growth.”
Bradley’s proposal would create a way to ease the pressure on elementary schools from the district’s full-day program for pre-K, which began last school year.
That program is very popular, with 650 students enrolled.
However, making pre-K available for a full day has taken classroom space at all of the district’s eight elementary schools, pushing three of them near capacity and one – Lakehoma – to 105% of capacity, said Jason Pittenger, the assistant superintendent for operations, who led the analysis of the district’s needs.
“What we’re experiencing is not sustainable,” Bradley said.
The district would greatly prefer to have pre-K students attend a neighborhood school, Bradley said.
“However, the growth rate is preventing us from meeting this goal,” he said.
Officials considered placing the proposed new elementary in the northeast section of the district, where the fastest growth is occurring.
They decided against that approach because a new northeast school would not relieve pressure that pre-K is causing districtwide, Bradley said.
“It would not help the other schools,” he said.
Board President Chad Schroeder asked if using the existing Mustang Elementary as a pre-K center would create traffic problems.
Bradley replied that officials are considering staggered starting time for the pre-K center and having half of the students dropped off on one side of the building and half on the other side.
Mustang does not bus pre-K students, so all of them are dropped off by their parents, Bradley noted.
The $47.5 million potential bond issue is well below the $180 million bond issue that voters approved in 2017.
The 2017 bond issue has built several schools and is funding the performing arts center that is under construction.
Bradley concluded his presentation with this comment.
“We vetted all the options, and this is the one that makes the most sense.”

1 Comment

  1. Brandy Male on January 15, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    We need vussing for pre K students for safety issues among the traffic backing up.

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