Legislators have rejected bond financing to repair the Capitol building and address other state infrastructure needs, typically claiming their constituents strongly oppose all forms of debt and equate bonds with federal deficit spending.
This week's school elections suggest voters are far more discerning than that. Numerous school bond issues gained voter support. Since many such measures require supermajorities for approval, it's hard to argue there's a groundswell of voter opposition to responsible infrastructure financing.
The list of bond approvals is extensive. Edmond voters approved two propositions totaling $80 million. In Moore, voters supported two bond issues totaling nearly $126.5 million. Voters in the Putnam City and Western Heights districts also approved bond issues.
In the Tulsa area, voters in the Jenks and Union school districts approved school bonds. Bond proposals also passed in the Hydro-Eakly district in Caddo County, the Calumet district in Canadian County, the Friends district in Grady County, Calvin schools in Hughes County, Ponca City schools in Kay County, Dibble schools in McClain County, the Grove district in Pottawatomie County and the Albion district in Pushmataha County.
These results also rebut the argument that Oklahomans don't support education. Citizens routinely approve local funding initiatives — when a clear need is demonstrated and a specific plan of action is outlined, covering a specific period of time. If similar specificity were provided when officials demand increased state education appropriations, they might have more success.
We were encouraged that Oklahoma City voters chose a new direction by electing Lynne Hardin as school board chairman, although we wish more had shown up at the polls. Outgoing chairman Angela Monson deserves thanks for serving in a tough job, but we were disappointed she resorted to class envy arguments in her campaign. Thankfully, Oklahoma City residents rejected those divisive tactics, just as voters have across the state in other political races.