Harrah school officials to regroup after failed bond issue

Harrah Public Schools Superintendent Paul Blessington said there is no new bond issue plan in the works.
by Matt Patterson Modified: September 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm •  Published: September 30, 2013

After two failed bond issues this year, Harrah Public Schools Superintendent Paul Blessington said it's time to reboot the process.

Fifty-four percent of those voting in the most recent election voted for the bond issue but it required 60 percent for passage. According to the Oklahoma County Election Board 1,791 people voted in the election.

A $36.4 million bond issue failed to be approved by voters in February.

If approved, the latest bond would have paid for remodeling, classroom additions, technology upgrades and an $8.2 million overhaul of the district's athletic facilities, the most controversial item on the bond.

“I think this is a case study that when you have a large group of people that show up, you're more likely to get a 50-50 vote on things,” Blessington said. “That seems to be what the trends are and what I've heard. We didn't get the super majority we needed but it's one of those things where we have to move forward.”

Moving forward will mean a property tax increase if a future bond issue passes. Property taxes will decrease after the end of 2013 as millages go down.

“When they get their tax bills in November they'll see a decrease,” Blessington said. “Now, anything we do on the future will mean a tax increase.”

But there is no new bond issue planned.

“I think the probably realistic approach is taking a step back and maybe go back to the drawing board,” he said. “We need to address some of our needs and we need to be thinking in terms of what is a workable solution. We need to find a combination that works, and involving community members is a big key.”

by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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I think the probably realistic approach is taking a step back and maybe go back to the drawing board.”

Paul Blessington,
Harrah Public Schools superintendent

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