MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 15, 2013

Muskogee passes two school bonds

Both bond issues succeed with large margin of voters

Lisa Dotson, English teacher at Muskogee High School, is excited about Tuesday’s election results.

“I’ve literally dreamed of having the one-to-one technology with the students so they can have that technology right there at their fingertips,” Dotson said.

Both of Muskogee Public School’s bond issues passed Tuesday with flying colors, including funds to get laptops in the hands of every seventh- through 12th-grader.

The $47.5 million bond for major building repairs, classrooms, laboratories and more passed with 84.2 percent of the vote.

The $2 million transportation bond passed with 85.2 percent. More than 1,400 ballots were cast, according to the Muskogee County Election Board.

Superintendent Mike Garde said Tuesday was a “great day to be a Rougher and a ‘Real Okie’ from Muskogee.”

“On behalf of the Board of Education, students and staff, I would like to thank the community for their show of support for this bond issue,” Garde said in a written statement. “There's an old African proverb which mentions the fact that it takes a village to raise a child. Our community evidenced that kind of commitment with the passage of this bond issue.”

Technology is the largest part of the bond monies, about 34 percent with the greatest portion going to the laptop initiative.

Dotson said it’s the best part of the bond issue for high school students.

“It’s so exciting. They’ll have the fundamentals now to be competitive in the real world, whatever avenue they choose,” she said. “It makes them more marketable and it’s just great for their future.”

It will likely be the 2014-15 school year before any laptops get in students’ hands, Garde said.

“We have a lot of training to do and a lot of technology infrastructure to update and get in place first,” he said.

Many schools will get needed repairs with the bond monies and the transportation bond will bring the district 12 compressed natural gas-fueled buses.

Garde said natural gas costs 90 cents a gallon, which will offer the district substantial savings in the long run.

The district’s maintenance fleet also will be converted to CNG and electric vehicles in an effort to go green, Garde said.

A new library and dance studio will be created with bond funds at Sadler Arts Academy.

Principal Ronia Davison said everyone at Sadler is elated about both projects — which will be inside the original Manual Training High School gymnasium at Sadler, but made in a way to preserve the historical gym, as well.

“Just being able to expand our resources and services is something that is very important to us,” Davison said. “Children’s literacy is something we take very seriously, and we are so grateful to the voters for understanding the significance of what the library can do for our students.”

Davison said the dance studio and plan to keep the historical significance of the gym is important too.

“We’ll marry the past and the present, enhance the beauty but increase the functionality,” she said. “We’re ecstatic.”

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.

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