Monday November 20, 2017

okw news logo

OKW News | South East Oklahoma Latest News

School Building Construction Requires Property Tax Increase! Featured

Written by  Wednesday, 06 September 2017 14:47
Rate this item
(0 votes)
 Members of the Poteau Schools Facilities Improvement Team have been instrumental in the development of the bond projects. Pictured left to right are Karen Wages, David Deaton, Brenda Sheets, Ron Hall, Jeremy Quarry, BJ Barnes, Michael Riley, Jason Waymire, Kim Wilson, Linda Newman Members of the Poteau Schools Facilities Improvement Team have been instrumental in the development of the bond projects. Pictured left to right are Karen Wages, David Deaton, Brenda Sheets, Ron Hall, Jeremy Quarry, BJ Barnes, Michael Riley, Jason Waymire, Kim Wilson, Linda Newman

Press Release

 

On September 12th, Poteau School district officials are asking voters to decide on a long overdue millage increase to support four major building projects. According to School Superintendent Don Sjoberg, the change in millage would amount to a 13.8% property tax increase. As an example, a property owner who paid $ 1,000 in property tax last year would pay an additional $ 138 under the new tax structure. Homeowners who paid $ 2,000 would pay an additional $ 276.


“This will be a sacrifice”, Sjoberg says, “but worth it when weighed against what the students will get. This is a legacy this voting generation can leave for generations to come. That tax increase will result in a new 7th and 8th grade Center, new high school classrooms, a true Performing Arts Center, and an Event Center”.


“If passed, Poteau residents will see several improvements besides the actual buildings. We will have a true Performing Arts showcase in the Kidd Center, the 7th and 8th grade Center will relieve the overcrowding at the Primary and Upper Elementary Schools, high school classrooms built decades ago will be replaced, and the Event Center will bring county and regional schools together for tournaments and other competitions”.


Frequently Asked Questions
Who can vote? Anyone who has registered to vote and lives in the school district can vote. You do not have to have a student enrolled in the school district. Interested citizens can find their polling place by calling the election board or can go online at www.ok.gov/elections/


How long is the tax increase? This bond will be on the tax rolls for 15 years but if the Net Assessed Valuation of the district continues to climb as expected, the millage will begin to drop in 2019 unless citizens vote to keep it at the same level.


Will this help prepare for future growth in enrollment? Each of the projects will have new or larger rooms for future growth in enrollment. The construction of the 7th and 8th grade center alone will make more classroom space available.


Why only 13 rooms at the high school to replace 15? The new high school classrooms will be larger rooms with more storage.


What will happen if it doesn’t pass?- We will survey the community to find out why it didn’t pass and develop a new facilities improvement plan. District officials will review how much the school facilities are used by other organizations and increase fees or eliminate outside group use altogether as we seek to ensure that facilities are protected long-term for Poteau student use.


How did the school district develop this facilities improvement plan? In the spring of 2017, a survey was taken of staff and parents of currently enrolled students inviting respondents to place a degree of priority on several building projects. The results (over 500) pointed out priorities in the following order: 7th and 8th grade center to be built on Mockingbird Lane, new high school classrooms, renovation of the Kidd Center for the performing arts, and a new event center for athletic competition.

 

A Facilities Improvement Team consisting of members of the community met to review the survey results and examine the current needs of the district. Current needs included solving a long-standing overcrowding issue (especially at the Primary and Upper Elementary Schools), aging of the high school main hallway, the need for better seating, lighting and acoustics for the performing arts programs, and a larger, air-conditioned facility for basketball, wrestling, and other school activities such as graduation. In addition, Superintendent Sjoberg shared that the State of Oklahoma has been decreasing state aid since 2008, effectively taking away funding that could be used to help offset building costs.


The committee then reviewed the millage level and determined that the current sinking fund millage of 7.42 would not be enough to sustain any large capital improvements. Other districts the size of Poteau would often have millage higher than 20.

 

The committee concluded that a bond issue resulting in a 13.8% tax increase to raise the millage level to 19.23 would be necessary to meet all of the needs identified by the school and the priorities supported by the survey.


Poteau Schools are not alone in the need to have higher millage to provide safe and reliable facilities. Pocola and Stigler voters will also decide on September 12th whether to increase their taxes by more than 13.8%, (Stigler Schools are requesting a 22% increase) to improve their facilities.

 

There will be a community forum to answer questions about the bond projects on Monday, September 11th at 7:30 pm in the Kidd Center.

 

 

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

Google +

Latest Events

Sponsored By:
23Nov
Thanksgiving Day
Thu Nov 23 @12:00AM
24Nov
Second Chances Holiday Open house
Fri Nov 24 @10:00AM - 06:00PM
30Nov
Poteau Chamber Lunch & Learn
Thu Nov 30 @12:00PM - 01:00PM