The Shawnee Board of Education on Wednesday approved the recommendation from Superintendent Dr. April Grace to reschedule the district’s $16.9 million bond issue election originally scheduled for April 7 to August 25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision comes after Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax declared an election emergency last week.

According to a statement released Thursday, March 19, Grace said it was best for the district to reschedule the election for the protection of the community.

"I cannot in good faith move forward with the election," Grace said. "The health of our community is our top priority, and risking anyone’s life is simply not an option."

According to Pottawatomie County Election Board Secretary Jeannie Stover, Shawnee is one of four schools originally set to hold an election on April 7.

In addition to Shawnee, Stover said Bethel Public Schools is scheduled to hold a bond election and North Rock Creek Public Schools and Dale Public Schools were set to hold elections for seats on their education boards.

While none of these three school districts have officially canceled or rescheduled their elections, Stover said after speaking with each, they seem just as prepared to rescind and reschedule as Shawnee Public Schools.

Stover said each district must send the Election Board paperwork officially declaring the postponement of their elections by the end of March.

However, should the districts decide to hold their elections, Stover said in-person absentee voting would take place at the Pottawatomie County Commissioners Building on Acme Road, which houses the Election Board Office.

Stover said the in-person voting would take place April 2 and April 3 and the Election Board would request districts to provide help finding workers who could monitor the polls as only 10 people would be allowed to vote at a time.

Stover said she expects the remaining three districts will inform the Election Board of decisions on their elections sometime next week.

Check back for updates.

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