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Wagoner Schools propose $20 million bond for improvements

Posted at 9:12 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-27 17:27:11-04

WAGONER, Okla. -- Wagoner Public Schools is looking to make some upgrades with the district proposing a $20 million bond to be voted on in a few weeks.

"Nobody likes to pay new taxes and we get that, but we don’t look at it as a cost, we look at it as an investment

Wagoner Schools Superintendent Randy Harris walks the halls of Ellington Elementary, and sees a lot of room for improvement.

"How much money do we want to spend fixing this when the reality is there’s so much to fix," said Harris.

In a $20 million bond proposal, Ellington would see a new wing with additional kindergarten and first grade classrooms, a bigger cafeteria, and become a pre-k through second grade school.

"Hopefully it passes, I believe it really needs it," said Ashley Comiford, a Wagoner parent.

The bond also includes expanding Teague Elementary with classroom and bathroom additions, which will then house third through fifth graders.

"If your house is assessed at $100,000 in the Wagoner school district, it’s going to cost you $9 a month," said Harris.

If the bond passes, they would shut down Central Intermediate School, mainly for safety reasons, because it sits right behind the county jail.

"Last year we actually had somebody escape from a holding cell, and ran around in front of the courthouse and right in front of our elementary school," said Harris.

Voters dismissed a previous bond a few years ago, which was about $30 million. Some parents say they were upset with the proposal because money went toward improving the football field.

"I felt as a parent that you’re saying that the school needs this money because the buildings are falling apart, and yet you wanted to add somewhat of a vanity project," said Comiford.

This year Harris is confident they have their priorities straight. They're focusing on adding classrooms, closing a school in disrepair, and building a new AG classroom.

"We have a really strong community and a lot of agricultural families and a lot of support for our FFA and our junior livestock," said Harris.

The amount for the bond is $20 million. The addition at Ellington is estimated at $9.5 million. The addition at Teague is estimated at $4.5 million. The new AG classroom and workshop facility is estimated at $1.6 million. New playground equipment and furniture for the classrooms is estimated at $1 million.

Phase one is slated to be completed over 18 to 24 months. The vote is set for May 14th.

Phase two will be voted on in about eight years. Phase 2 will be no additional tax increase and will consist of the following:
1. Build a 2nd grade wing at Ellington (the 2nd grade will be housed in the old 1st grade wing temporarily).
2. Build a new cafeteria on Teague along with 4 more classrooms and recapture the existing cafeteria space and turn it into a library.
3. Expand the High School cafeteria to create a commons area, build 4 new science classrooms, update the gym entrance, and enclose the walkway between the Middle School and High School.
4. Allow safe rooms to be added at each site.

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