Response mixed to Mustang school bond proposal

Superintendent Charles Bradley explains a proposed bond issue at the Positive Posse Tuesday. School Board President Chad Schroeder is to Bradley’s left. Photo/Chris Eversole

Superintendent Charles Bradley used the Positive Posse as a proving grounds for his message about why Mustang Public Schools need a nearly $47 million bond issue.
The informal civic discussion group, which meets every Tuesday at the Mustang Town Center, had a full house to hear about the proposal that will be on an April 7 special election ballot.
Some people questioned how a pre-K center that is part of the bond package would impact traffic, while others voiced strong support for pre-K.
The bond issue is essential for the school district to continue to offer full-day classes for all students who are old enough for pre-K, Bradley said.
Mustang began offering pre-K for a full day last school year, and enrollment has reached 650 this year.
The program is offered at each elementary school.
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, Bradley said.
“The status quo is unsustainable,” Bradley said.
Pre-K is fundamental to building strong social and academic skills in toddlers, the superintendent said.
“It introduces an instructional setting a full year early,” he said.
Student who attend pre-K have a better chance at reading at grade level by fourth grade, a key benchmark, Bradley said.
“Pre-K is no longer an option,” he said.
Despite that, the plan to convert the current Mustang Elementary School into a pre-K center would exacerbate the current traffic issues along Mustang Road – which feeds not only Mustang Elementary but also the sprawling Mustang High School campus, said former School Board Member Chad Fulton.
“Are we not asking for traffic issue?” Fulton asked.
Bradley responded that he’s working hard to minimize the impact of traffic.
His plans include:
• Providing a place to drop of students on both sides of the proposed pre-K center since one side of the building no longer will serve as a bus drop-off. (Mustang doesn’t bus pre-K students.)
• Staggering the starting times of pre-K classes so that not all students will arrive at the same time.
• Continuing to work with the city of Mustang on traffic circulation, which has improved since of the start of this school year.
On the other hand, several parents and grandparents of current and past pre-K students praised the program.
Dana Kinder, who regularly attends Positive Posse, said pre-K has been “amazing” for her granddaughter.
“We reap what we sow, and we’re sowing the next generation,” she said.
The bond issue would include $29.7 million for a new elementary school that would replace the existing Mustang Elementary School, $2.6 million to convert the existing Mustang Elementary into a pre-K center, $2.8 million to repair heating and air conditioning units and $2.8 million for land.
Another $500,000 would go to convert flexible space at Riverwood Elementary School and Prairie View Elementary School into classrooms.
When the two schools were built, officials created the flexible space with the idea that teachers could use it for activities outside the classroom and that it could be converted into classrooms as the need arose.
The bond issue also would provide money for instructional materials, technology equipment, fine arts, athletics and other program needs.
At most, the bond issue would raise taxes $22 per year on each $100,000 of valuation, Bradley said.
Even with the bond issue, Mustang’s millage would be below Yukon’s, Bradley said.
“I’m more than happy to let Yukon beat us in tax rates,” he said.

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous on February 14, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Chris — Please do not identify me in this response … On the Bond Issue, thank you for telling both sides of the story, which I find the other competing paper ignores all too often … It is a cheerleader for all things in Mustang, especially schools, when sometimes the schools ask for too much … Please keep up the balanced news, well-written stories, and in-depth treatment …

  2. Lekingsley on February 14, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Can you tell me who gets to vote on these bond elections? My address is in OKC but we are Canadian County and pay Mustang School property taxes so need to know if we get to vote on this since it does affect those of us in this situation.

Leave a Comment