LUTHER, Okla. – The Luther school district is in the middle of a financial mess.
This week, city trustees voted to send a water cutoff notice due to delinquent utility payments.
Records show the district missed two payments, one from December 2015 totaling $1,879.76 and another in January totaling $1,795.76.
If water is cut off to the school, will classes continue for the students?
We spoke with the superintendent, who would not go on camera but assures all Luther schools will remain open and serving students.
As far as the thousands of dollars in payments not made, the superintendent said he doesn’t know how that happened.
“They haven’t paid the water bill?” asked William Barnett, a surprised Luther resident. “I thought they were paying it!”
Bills totaling more than $3,600 outstanding, and it was an item on the city’s public work’s agenda early this week.
“Item three: consideration discussion and possible action regarding the delinquent Luther public schools utility bills,” said a trustee member in a recording we heard from the meeting earlier this week.
Unpaid bills from December of last year and January of this year.
“It was brought to my attention they haven’t paid their water bill,” said another trustee said, as laughter erupted. “What do we do?”
Funny to some, but it’s no laughing matter.
The discussion ended in a vote.
“I make a motion we do a 10-day cutoff notice, so we get it paid,” said a trustee.
“This is the middle of February. If they forgot, it will remind them they need to pay it,” said a trustee.
Some people think it may be too harsh.
“I understand you have to pay your bill but, at the same time, it’s our children’s education,” said Kimberly Center, a Luther resident. “They have to have it.”
That very point brought up at the meeting
“Can you do that with children?” asked one trustee.
“I got kids at my house. You cut off mine,” responded another trustee.
News so hard to believe for some, one man came back asking more questions.
“I got thinking about that, and I said I have to find that lady to see what’s going on,” Barnett said.
The taxpayer overcome with anger.
“Somebody at that school needs an ass-kicking,” Barnett said. “I’m on city water, and I pay my water bill.”
“If the school were to go down, that would be a big defining moment for Luther, that would just about be it because, if there’s not a school for her to go to, we’d have to relocate to somewhere,” Center said.
Again, the superintendent would not go on camera but said it may have been a clerical error the bill was not paid.
He’s not sure.
We also tried reaching the mayor.
She only responded through a text saying:
“I have spoken to Mr. Buxton, the superintendent, and the bill is scheduled to be approved for payment at a board meeting on Monday, February 15th.”