Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 bond issues totaling $12,570,000 for Shawnee Public Schools failed to pass with the required 60 percent supermajority in a special election Tuesday, with less than 600 voting in the special election.
To officially pass, each bond had to meet a 60 percent supermajority vote but failed to do so. According to the Oklahoma State Election Board results, Proposition 1, which was for $11,370,000 for updates to the SPS district, had 329 people or 56.05 percent voting yes and 258 or 43.95 percent voting no.
In Proposition 2, which was for $1,200,000 to fund transportation/buses, 329, or 55.95 percent voted yes, while 259 or 44.05 percent voting no.
According to SPS Superintendent Dr. April Grace, while results of this election make things more challenging for the district, SPS has received much support from the people of Shawnee.
"While I am disappointed in the outcome of the bond election, I am grateful to the Shawnee community for the support they have given our schools," Grace said. "Our community partners have been overwhelming with their generosity to our teachers and students.
Grace also explained though SPS faces struggles, the Shawnee Board of Education and administration will continue to provide what is needed for the students, faculty and staff of SPS.
"While this election is a setback to the progress we are making as a district, we at Shawnee Public Schools are committed to ensuring all our students and staff have what they need to be successful," Grace said.
Should they have passed, money from the bonds would have gone toward new buses, transportation, HVAC repair, new technology, equipment, parking lot improvements, signage, security enhancement, new uniforms and equipment for student activities and updated technology at the Performing Arts and Athletic Center (PAAC).
The 2019 bonds would have added an additional year to the bond passed in 2016.
Property owners would've seen an increase of approximately $5 per month for every $1,000 in property taxes.
Initially, calling the special election was approved during the March school board meeting.
According to Grace, the bonds would have addressed immediate and long-term needs of the schools.
Despite these recent election results however, progress has been and will still be made to SPS because of projects approved in the 2016 bond issue.
Completed projects from the 2016 bond issue include the addition of safe rooms and security entrances to Horace Mann Elementary, Sequoyah Elementary and Shawnee Middle School. Also remodeled science classrooms, special needs classrooms and parking lot improvements to the Shawnee High School and Will Rogers Elementary.
Current projects from the 2016 bond that are expected to be completed in 2019-2020 include safe rooms, a security vestibule and parking area to Jefferson Elementary, a security entrance to Will Rogers and the Shawnee High School Stucker facility.
Projects form the 2016 bond issue, which are scheduled to go out for bid, include several improvements to the high school.
They are as follows: security vestibules, counseling area, band and music rooms, library media center, cafeteria and dining areas, tennis facility upgrade, baseball ticket booth, concession area, restrooms and softball dugout.
The new elementary site construction is expected to begin in 2020 and Grace said the earliest the school would open is the 2021-2022 school year.
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