EL RENO — Early voting begins Friday for a number of special elections across the state, including voters in the El Reno Public School District who will take a second look at a $44.8 million bond issue.
A similar proposal was narrowly defeated in November 2011, but officials with the school district have altered the plans tied to the funding.
The bond issue will still increase property taxes in the school district by about 6.5 percent, but the district has dropped a proposal to build a new high school on a tract of land adjacent to the airport and Redlands Community College.
Instead, $9.4 million will be spent upgrading the existing high school campus and building a 32,000-square-foot science and math building on land south of the campus owned by the First Baptist Church. The plans also call for a new elementary school to be constructed that is 62,000 square feet and has a capacity of 500 students. The $13.6 million elementary school will be located on property south of the existing Roblyer Middle School and will have two grade levels in the school.
“Not only does it build a new school,” said El Reno Public Schools Superintendent Craig McVay. “It provides a little safety and an incredible opportunity for the high school to remain a part of the downtown area.”
McVay, who is new to the district but grew up in Canadian County, said the community really wanted to keep a downtown campus.
“There are not very many campuses like El Reno that are right directly downtown and still viable,” he said. “It's going to be a great addition for the community.”
The proposal also expands and upgrades several other schools in the district and closes Webster and Lincoln elementary schools with funding to demolish and clean up the sites.
There is a second bond proposal on the ballot for $500,000 for transportation equipment. A similar proposal also failed in November 2011.
There are 6,944 registered voters in the school district, according to the Canadian County Election Board.
For the last bond issue, almost 2,000 people came out to vote and the proposal was defeated, failing to reach the required 60 percent majority for school bond issues.
Early voting can be done at county election headquarters on Friday and Monday 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. There is no early voting on Saturday because there are no statewide issues on the ballot.
Precincts open for the elections at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Voters need a valid form of identification like a state-issued driver's license or a voter identification card issued by county election boards to all voters.
Other elections in the metro area include a proposed 1 percent sales tax in the Town of Luther to fund a number of capital improvements.