Stillwater News Press

Local News

December 30, 2010

Stillwater superintendent: bond issue is high priority in 2011

Stillwater superintendent looks to new year

STILLWATER, Okla. — On the long list of issues affecting the Stillwater Public Schools in 2011, district Superintendent Ann Caine expects an upcoming bond issue to rank near the top.

Stillwater voters will go to the polls in February to vote on whether to allow the district to sell $61.5 million in bonds. Funding from the bonds would go toward a number of building and maintenance projects in the district. Chief among those projects would be the construction of two elementary schools to replace Will Rogers Elementary and Highland Park Elementary.

Caine said she has spent much of the month of December meeting with faculty members from every department at every school to talk with them about how the bond process works and how the bond election affects each school.

The construction of the two schools represents about half the total bond issue, Caine said. The other half of the money raised would go toward smaller projects at other schools in the district, as well as transportation, classroom technology and textbooks.

“This bond election touches every single child in our district,” Caine said.

Should the bond issue pass, Caine said, Stillwater residents won’t see an increase in their property tax. Generally, when a school district sells bonds, it raises the millage rate to pay down the debt, leading to an increase in property tax for residents.

However, Caine said, because the district has paid off nearly all of the debt from the bond issue that funded the construction of Pioneer Stadium, the district is able to sell more bonds without affecting the millage rate.

Another major issue facing the district in the coming year will be the budget. Because of a combination of decreased revenue and state appropriations, the district underwent budget cuts last year, and Caine said she expects 2011 to be no different. The budget situation is cause for concern, Caine said, because the district’s staffing is already lean.

About 88 percent of the district’s budget goes toward staffing, Caine said.

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