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Harrah School Board to consider new bond election

The Harrah School Board will meet at noon Wednesday to decide whether to call a May 14 special election on a $36.47 million school bond issue that would be slightly more expensive than one that was recently defeated.
by Randy Ellis Modified: March 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm •  Published: March 13, 2013

More than 55 percent of Harrah school district voters cast ballots in favor of the last bond issue, but the bond issue failed because the district fell 46 votes shy of the 60 percent approval needed for passage.

Hughes said he believes cost was the major reason the prior bond issue was defeated.

Mayor discusses Feb. 12 election

Harrah Mayor Larry Fryar, however, said he believes residents voted it down because they thought school officials tried to slide the election by them.

“I've had a lot of people call me,” Fryar said. “They probably could have gotten it passed the first time if they had gone about it right. ... You've got to keep the public informed about what's going on.”

Fryar said he believes a school bond issue is needed, but wishes the school board would take more time, work at informing the public and focus on educational improvement before focusing on sports improvements.

Property taxes would increase 6.64 percent if the bond issue eventually is approved, school officials were told. That would amount to $68.90 for the owner of a $100,000 home, Freeman said.

The proposal calls for the issuance of $36.47 million in bonds, which would produce just under $27.2 million in estimated project funds, according to Ron Fisher, president of Stephen H. McDonald & Associates, which is handling financial aspects of the bond issue for the district.

The other $9.27 million would pay the $612,755 cost of issuance and be part of the lease-purchase payments that would pay interest costs, Fisher said.

Although the cost of the proposed bond issue is $365,000 higher than the defeated bond issue, the amount available for projects would be $537,651 less. Fisher said that's because there would be a year's delay in putting the bond issue on the tax rolls for collection. It would take longer to begin paying off the bonds, which would increase interest costs, he said.

by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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At a glance

Harrah school bond projects

Following is a list of proposed projects that would be funded by a proposed $36.47 million bond issue that the Harrah School Board is considering scheduling for a May 14 vote:

Harrah High School: eight new classrooms, $2,193,500; new administrative area, security entrance and cafeteria, $790,125; sport facility improvements including new indoor facility, cheer, locker, $2,879,340; new locker and concession, $2,752,750; new football field, $840,000; new press box, $200,000; turf, $1 million; resurface track, $215,000; parking, $1,350,000.

Russell Babb Elementary School: new administrative area and security entrance, sprinkler system in existing library/classrooms, $1,252,850.

Clara Reynolds Elementary School: new administrative area and security entrance, $472,500; new library/safe room, $815,000.

Virginia Smith Elementary School: new administrative area and security entrance, $595,000; four new classrooms, physical education building/safe room, $2,460,125.

Harrah Junior High School: 10 new classrooms, $2,651,500; new administration area and security entrance, $437,500; 765 new seats, locker room, restrooms, lobby, $1,760,000.

Technology: $2 million.

Furniture: $150,000.

Phones, roof repairs/HVAC: $860,000.

Architectural fees: $1,359,911.


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