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Catoosa Public Schools seeking additional bond

Posted at 6:53 AM, Jan 05, 2023

CATOOSA, Okla. — Soon Catoosa voters will decide the fate of an additional $9 million bond measure that would increase taxes.

The concern here for some... how much would this bond raise taxes?

The district put together an estimated impact chart and it shows if you pay $500 in taxes in 2022-2023, with this bond you would be paying $527.58 in 2023-2024. That breaks down to an increase of $27.58 a year or $2.30 a month.

“Just like any other school district they battle the fact that a lot of individuals don't want to raise their taxes and I get that. I understand that completely, but in the same breathe if we want to progress, if we want to transform or reimagine the way that we do school or the way we do business at Catoosa Public Schools, we are going to have to raise our milage rate. We are going to have to raise our taxes,” said Superintendent Robert Schornick.

The reason Catoosa Public Schools needs another bond is because of inflation, construction costs, supply chain issues and rising interest rates. All these things played a factor in the current construction of a new elementary school, which voters approved last February through a $52 million bond.

Originally, the district eliminated 14 classrooms to keep the project within the budget but things have changed. Now to get the project done, Schornick says the district needs this new bond to be approved.

“If it does not pass, we go back to the drawing board and we start to think about how we can work on renovations at Helen Paul so we can house Pre-K and K at Helen Paul Learning Center,” he said. “It’s a great building, but to be in a what I would consider a very stellar or world class, innovative type setting for our kids I think would be a phenomenal experience for them.”

Previously there were two elementary schools, one has been demolished as the district constructs the new school. Currently, Helen Paul Learning Center, an 82 year old building, is housing Pre-K to 3rd grade students. While 4th through 7th graders are at the middle school and 8th graders have been moved to the high school.

The district hopes to pass this bond to finish the new school with the original plans to get all elementary students under one roof and return 8th graders back to the middle school. Catoosa Superintendent Schornick tells me this would allow them to operate and maintain three buildings instead of four.

Several parents 2 News spoke to Thursday morning didn’t want to go on camera, but told us they didn’t know much about the bond and weren’t excited about a tax increase.

If you have more questions on this bond ahead of the vote on February 14th, the district is hosting a forum Thursday night at 6pm at the dome.

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