EDMOND — An $80 million bond proposal, the largest in the history of the Edmond school district, will go before voters on Feb. 12.
The bond issue would finance the construction of Edmond's 17th elementary school and a sixth middle school and pay for land for a fourth high school.
“The largest items within the bond issue are to build two new schools; an elementary school for grades PK-5 at $16.5 million and a middle school for grades 6-8 at $27 million. Included in the issue will be funds for purchasing land that would be planned for a possible future high school site,” Superintendent David Goin said.
The bond money would also go toward maintaining existing facilities and provide instructional equipment.
A yes vote won't raise taxes, as the new bond will replace retiring bonds, Goin said.
The current property tax millage rate is 24.21. A mill is one-tenth of a cent.
Goin said bond issues require 60 percent voter approval, and the district has had unwavering support from taxpayers.
“Beginning in September of 1959, Edmond Public Schools voters have approved 54 consecutive bond issues — continuous support for more than half a century,” Goin said.
“We do not take passage of bond issues for granted. Our constant goal is to provide excellent educational services for Edmond children and to submit to voters thoughtfully planned bond projects that meet clearly articulated needs.”
The emergence of the new schools is a result of the district's rapid growth, said Susan Parks-Schlepp, director of public information.
“The district has grown by 2,200 students over the last four years and growth in the student population is expected to continue,” Schlepp said.
Edmond's newest elementary campus, Centennial Elementary, opened in 2007. A building currently under construction, Frontier Elementary, is scheduled to open in the fall.
With passage of the bond, a new elementary school would be built on Sorghum Mill Road and would include at least 25 classrooms as well as a media center, gymnasium and cafeteria.
The proposed middle school would be built south of Frontier Elementary on Pennsylvania Avenue. The last middle school built in the district was Cheyenne, which opened in 2000.
While an exact location for the proposed high school is unknown, school board officials are looking for 80 acres of land east of Interstate 35, school board President Jamie Underwood said.
If the bond election passes, school officials hope to start construction on the schools this summer. They project the elementary school will open in the fall of 2014 and the middle school the following year.
School officials have not decided which students will attend the new schools.
“Feeder patterns have yet to be identified,” Goin said.
He said naming the schools is a process that will occur if the bond is passed.
Additional teachers and school workers would be hired for the two new campuses.
“While some teachers will be transferred from existing schools, additional teaching and support staff will be required,” Goin said.
Other proposals in the bond include enhancing school technology and security, roofing and floor replacement and the purchasing of new school buses.
All registered voters who live within school district boundaries can vote including those who live outside the Edmond city limits. Polling places on Feb. 12 will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
“The Edmond community has long valued quality schools for our children and passage of bond issues is a very significant investment toward that purpose. Excellent schools are an economic driver; they contribute to quality of life and add value to the community,” Goin said.