MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Schools

April 1, 2010

Porum voters asked to give kids more room

School seeks $3.28M bond for expansion

PORUM — School Superintendent Rick Antle recalled having to turn away parents who wanted to enroll their 4-year-olds in Porum Elementary School’s pre-kindergarten.

There just wasn’t enough room, he said.

Antle said a proposed six-classroom early childhood center, part of a $3.28 million bond issue set for Tuesday, could keep him from making similar rejections in the future.

The bond issue also would fund a media center, computer classroom and restrooms. The media center and computer classroom would serve the entire school. The bond issue also would fund expansion of the school cafeteria.

Antle said the bond issue would raise taxes by $13.72 for every $100 paid in property taxes. The bond issue would raise Porum Public Schools’ millage rate by 13.7 mills, which Antle figured would go from 22 and 23 mills to just under 35 mills. A mill raises $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.

Antle said he had to turn away five children from being enrolled in the pre-kindergarten program earlier this year. This not only means five children being turned away but potential revenue from the state of Oklahoma, he said. Ten additional pre-kindergarten students could generate $45,500 more in state aid.

He said classrooms are at or just above the maximum student-teacher ratio of 20 students per teacher.

“I called ministers of area churches and surveyed the number of children going to nurseries. We’re looking at 50 students a year over the next few years coming in as 4-year-olds,” he said.

Porum has all-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten, Antle said.

Pre-kindergarten teachers Brooke Dishman and Laura Macom say their classrooms are crowded with only 20 children each.

“The kids have very little room to move without tripping or falling into each other,” Dishman said. “In both classes, we’re full.”

Macom said she keeps a lot of classroom materials at her home because she has no space to store them at school.

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