Guthrie schools asking council for help with crumbling buildings

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GUTHRIE, Okla. - A special meeting is happening Monday night in Guthrie.

The meeting is bringing the school board together with the city council to consider a potential sales tax to help fund improvements at the district’s school buildings.

Several bond issues have failed in recent years. However, district officials say the schools are falling apart and something needs to be done to help them fund renovations and repairs.

The school board is asking the council to step in and help out.

Numerous school buildings in the district have problems.

"When they get moisture intrusion (referencing a wall) they peel off the plaster and seal the brick and then they try to make it look artistic,” Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson said.

Several schools have exposed walls, leaky roofs and cracks in the floors and walls.

“Our buildings are very old," Dr. Simpson said.

Many of the schools in Guthrie were built before 1960. They’ve had very few changes since.

“Our staff has done a remarkable job of creating an environment where learning can occur but it's getting harder every year,” Dr. Simpson said.

Monday we went on a tour of the schools with the superintendent and Mike Turpen. Mike is speaking at an upcoming event regarding the schools and wanted to see the problems first hand.

Classrooms at the junior high and elementary schools are cramped. With no room left, they put students where ever they can find a place. In one case, making classrooms out of the auditorium stage.

It's not just renovations that are needed but technology.

Most of the computers in the district were purchased surplus from other districts.

The district believes those opposed to the recent bond issues simply do not understand the problems these buildings face.

“Emotional attachment to a building I understand, but the people who tend to have the emotional attachment to the buildings are looking at it from the outside and not dealing with it on the inside," Dr. Simpson said,.

The superintendent tells us right now they're not sure how much of a potential sales tax they're looking at. Right now, they're just simply trying to get the conversation started.

The meeting between the school board and the city council was held Monday at 6 p.m.  No word on whether any decisions were made.

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