On Jan. 10, voters in the Bethel school district will decide on a bond issue that consists of two propositions for a total of $1,025,000. The North Rock Creek school district will decide on a bond issue that consists of one proposition for a total of $20,910,000.

The issue: Residents of Bethel and North Rock Creek school districts have proposed bond issues and voters will decide their fate on Jan. 10.

Local Impact: Bethel Schools would receive updates and North Rock Creek would add a high school. If passed, the bond issues would increase property taxes in both the Bethel and North Rock Creek school districts.

On Jan. 10, voters in the Bethel school district will decide on a bond issue that consists of two propositions for a total of $1,025,000. The North Rock Creek school district will decide on a bond issue that consists of one proposition for a total of $20,910,000.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday for the Bethel I-3 and North Rock Creek C-10 Special School Bond Elections.

In the Bethel school district, Proposition No. 1 is for the sum of $760,000. Items that are covered will be new band uniforms, carpet in classrooms and hallways of the lower elementary will be replaced with ceramic tile. The old gym will receive updates for choir and band performance upgrades, the purchasing of a new agriculture truck, the middle school will receive new football and cross-country teams will receive new uniforms, along with several technology updates. Textbooks and curriculum support products also will be purchased. Both gyms will receive electrical upgrades along with air conditioning units.

Proposition No. 2 is for the sum of $265,000. Items that are covered in this section of the bond will be for the purchasing of new buses.

Bethel Superintendent Tod Harrison said he is thankful for the support of the community and he’s confident they will vote in favor of the bond.

“Over the last few years, this community has been so supportive of the school,” Harrison said. “Everything we have on the bond is for the kids. With the forecast of Oklahoma education funding being what it is, it’s hard to not go to the public for help.”

In the North Rock Creek school district, which now goes through eighth grade, the bond will cover construction costs of adding a new high school for the district and would consist of 20 classroom spaces, a cafeteria and kitchen, band room and vocational and agriculture space. Moody said he envisions the innovation center will have a library and media component, spaces for robotics and possibly television and broadcasting space. There also will be special education spaces along with traditional classrooms.

“The community has been asking for a high school for probably close to 50 years,” NRC Superintendent Blake Moody said. “We received permission from the state board of education so that’s what we’re trying to do. This is an educational opportunity to keep our kids together and offer them educational opportunities in high school.”

If both propositions are passed in the Bethel school district, residents will pay an extra $85.78 for every $1,000 paid in property tax. This is an 8.6 percent increase in property taxes.

If the bond issue passes in the North Rock Creek school district, for every $1,000 paid in property taxes, residents will pay an extra $210, Moody estimated. This is a 21 percent increase in property taxes.

If the bond issues pass, Pottawatomie County Assessor Troyce King said the bonds would not impact taxes until the 2017 tax year.

The school bonds must get a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

Pottawatomie County Election Board Secretary Jeannie Stover said that a valid ballot marking—a filled-in box (in either blue or black ballpoint ink)—is important. If voters make mistakes marking their ballots, Stover said they should not try to correct those errors. Instead, a voter should return the spoiled ballot to precinct officials, who will destroy it and issue a new ballot to the voter.

Stover also urged voters to take their voter identification cards with them to the polls. “Your voter ID card (issued by the County Election Board) can help precinct officials find your name in the Precinct Registry, and it may help them resolve the problem if you are not listed in the Registry for some reason.”

Stover advised voters, candidates, campaign officials, and volunteers to be very aware of—and careful to not violate—state election laws in the Bethel I-3 and North Rock Creek C-10 Special School Bond Election on Jan. 10.

Stover said that all known election law violations will be reported to the proper law enforcement authorities, usually the County Sheriff and District Attorney.

“Our precinct officials are going to be watching very closely on election day for illegal electioneering by candidates, zealous campaign staff, and their volunteers,” she said. “It’s unlawful in Pottawatomie County and across the State of Oklahoma to electioneer within 300 feet of a ballot box.”

To electioneer means to work for or against election of a particular candidate, political party, or issue.

“This includes the illegal placement of any campaign signs inside the 300 feet boundary limit away from the ballot box,” Stover said.

Contact Adam at (405) 214-3940.