Oklahoma City school board votes to put bond issue on ballot

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OKLAHOMA CITY - At a special meeting Tuesday afternoon, the Oklahoma City school board voted unanimously to put a $180 million bond issue on the November ballot.

"A lot of what we're talking about is safety issues and making sure that we have our students participating in a safe facility with safe equipment," said Scott Randall, Chief Capital Projects Officer for the district.

School officials are calling this a maintenance bond, taking care of what they already have.

It would go towards fixing the heating and cooling units, plumbing, electrical and roofs at schools.

It would also replace buses more than 10 1/2 years old and update the technology in school computer labs.

"No different than a homeowner that has a continued investment in their own home to make repairs whether it be to the exterior of the structure or whether it be to replace a hearing and cooling system or if you have a plumbing leak in your home," Randall said.

The problems with Oklahoma City schools have been well documented.

Just last week, NewsChannel 4 was out at Taft Middle School where teachers and students were sweating it out with no AC.

"It's been challenging when you send crews out to fix the air conditioning, and we think we've got it done and then it breaks again the next day," said Oklahoma City schools superintendent Aurora Lora.

The superintendent of Santa Fe South charter schools said this will even benefit his students.

"One of the buildings we have we rent from the district. It was built in 1908 around statehood, somewhere around there, and it is in desperate need of upgrading," said Chris Brewster.

At least one school board member said this was a no brainer to get this issue on the ballot.

"We have schools to maintain, and we just have to have the money to do it. So, this is the only way to go and get the money to accomplish what we need as a school district," said Justin Ellis.

School officials said the bond will not raise taxes, because it will be replacing an older bond that is retiring.

It will be on the ballot November 8, and officials said, if it passes, repairs and replacing buses will begin the first quarter of 2017.

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