Residents respond to possible new high school in Durant

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

DURANT, Okla. -- City leaders in Durant voted on Tuesday to hold an election that will give residents the choice whether or not to raise sales taxes to pay for a new high school. We asked resident Thursday if a new school is to be built, what would they like to see?

It has been over fifty years since the city of Durant’s high school was built. Now, half a century later, a new school may be in the city's plans, but it is up to residents to make that dream a reality.

A plot of land along Highway 69/75 could soon be home to a $41 million state-of-the-art high school, but before bulldozers dig in, residents have to go to the polls.

All of the parents we spoke too say they are in favor of a new school and Durant Independent School District Officials hope the idea gains even more popularity.

"We’ll be able to put technology in we'll be able to put in the most current labs and give access to the world of technology," Durant president Margaret Cole says.

On Tuesday, Durant city leaders approved a resolution that would allow residents to vote on a less than 1% (5/8%) sales tax increase over the next 25 years to pay for construction of the new high school.

Superintendent Dr. Terry James says overcrowding in a 100-year-old middle school is the driving force behind building a new school.

"We’ll be able to put technology in we'll be able to put in the most current labs and give access to the world of technology."

If a new school is built, DISD officials say middle school students will attend class at the old high school to give them more room to learn.

The deadline to register to vote in the sales tax election is March 3. The actual voting set to take place on April 1.

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  • by Kim Harrelson Location: Durant on Mar 31, 2008 at 08:45 AM
    I believe that Tod Harrison, DIS principal, says it best in the presentation, "Furthermore, the majority of the tax revenue generated in Durant comes from patrons OUTSIDE OF OUR CITY LIMITS alleviating city residents from having to pay for the majority of the facility." Now, school funds are being used in an attempt to influence the sales tax election and children are being bribed with free hot dogs, karaoke, and pizza parties to get their parents to participate in this mess. Isn't it illegal to use public school funding to influence a tax election? Isn't this the same thing the Vo-Tech was fined for a few years ago? Like I said, we need a new school and I'm all for that but property taxes should be the method as is done in all other area communties needing school funding. I'm ashamed that the greed of a few has blinded so many people who I know and respect as upstanding members of the community to the difference between right and wrong-all in the name of education.
  • by Kim Harrelson Location: Durant on Mar 31, 2008 at 08:35 AM
    I live in Durant, went to school at Durant Middle School, graduated from Caddo High, & my son attends Durant Schools. I live in the school district but because I don't live within city limits, I am not allowed to vote. I know Durant needs a new school. The Middle School was falling apart when I went there. I do support a new school but I do NOT support a new sales tax. Durant should raise property taxes on those in the district. It would be much more fair. Rural Bryan County has some of our most low-income and elderly residents & people that live in the rural areas have NO CHOICE but to purchase goods&services in Durant because they're not available in their own communities. When attending Caddo, we didn't know from year to year if we'd have a school to come back to due to lack of funding. Calera's basketball gym is falling apart. Do they expect the rest of the county to help their schools? NO!
  • by Your funny Location: durant on Mar 6, 2008 at 07:53 PM
    Dont try to act like you wont come to Durant to shop if the tax passes. We live in podunk oklahoma. Your not going to take an extra 30 minute drive one way just to buy stuff. Sure you might do it once or twice but soon you will come back to the only place around. Stop whining.
  • by Mark Morrison Location: Durant, Oklahoma on Mar 5, 2008 at 12:33 PM
    Some have said the new high school in Durant should be built on land all ready available from the Durant Multi Sports Complex. This assertion of fact is not reality. Aside from impediments to moving the necessary traffic in and out of the sports complex area and safety issues, there is not sufficient land to accomodate the new school. The new high school needs in excess of 40 acres which is simply not available at the sports complex, because a 10 acre tract has yet to be purchased by the authority. Also, the school evaluated the sports complex site with a reputable engineer and found out it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions to even prepare the site south of Durant for construction before even one brick or piece of lumber was put down. The most compelling reason however against the sports complex is that the legal title to the land is held by the authority which is a public trust and there is no legal avenue to transfer title to the school
  • by For education Location: Durant on Feb 19, 2008 at 09:06 PM
    You might consider that a new school and advanced educational system would be appealing for new businesses to build in Durant. Obviously, Durant is growing & will need to accommodate new residents. While some of you think that it is wrong to educate illegal immigrants, they are tax-paying consumers too & I imagine a majority of their income goes into the community. However, the point is that the generation of tomorrow will be more likely to succeed if they are educated with the technology to prepare them for tomorrow. Whether you agree to pay for the school with a tax increase is your right, but a new school is needed.
  • by Re: Anonymous Location: Durant on Feb 19, 2008 at 08:14 AM
    Here is some math for you. The current tax rate in Durant is 8.5%. So if I buy something for $1.00. I wind up paying $1.09 (not $1.085). I ask you where does the other half of my penny go, because I don't get it back. So if the tax rate increases by 5/8% then my new tax rate is 9.125. Again, if I purchase the same thing for $1.00 with the proposed tax rate increase I now pay $1.10 (not $1.09125). The question remains where does the almost 9/10 of my penny go? I don't get it back. I'm okay with a higher tax, but at least round it off to an even number so that I don't feel like I'm being cheated every time I spend a dollar.
  • by Ben Location: Texas on Feb 18, 2008 at 01:49 PM
    Educated Person do the correct figures. First you just need to go to Denison since all Durant offers is Super Wally World the same as Denison so 20 miles each way now that is 2 gallons for a cost of $5.70. Then buy $150 of tax free groceries and save over $7 compared to buying the same thing in Durant with their taxes. Now that is a math education. Nice trying to twist the real facts remember TAX FREE is the equation and Denison at 20 miles.
  • by Anonymous Location: Durant on Feb 18, 2008 at 12:38 PM
    The above story states that it is a 1% tax increase. That is untrue. It is actually a 5/8% increase. That is much smaller than 1% and this story should be corrected.
  • by Educated Person Location: Durant on Feb 18, 2008 at 08:03 AM
    For all you who plan to take your business to Texas if this vote passes, here are some facts for you. It is approximately a 60 mile round trip to the new Sherman Town Center from Durant. (According to the US Department of Energy), vehicles average 20 MPG which equates to 3 gallons of fuel for this trip. The current cost of gas at $2.85 per gallon puts fuel cost at $8.55 per trip. According to Denison/Sherman sales tax figures (8.25), the sales tax difference is 87.5 cents per $100 spent. A consumer making this trip would have to spend $977 dollars per trip to pay for the fuel alone.
  • by Ben Location: Texas on Feb 18, 2008 at 07:26 AM
    What is Best FYI Denison tax rate is 8.25% with no tax on grocery, just 20 miles down the road. All you folks for the tax start telling us what you feel your house is worth compared to the actual assessed value and how long you have lived in it. The only houses close to the true assessed values are the ones purchased recently. The houses that sell for the most, in Durant, yet assessed at a far lower rate.
Sherman 4201 Texoma Pkwy (903) 892 -8123 Ardmore 2624 S. Commerce (580) 223-0946
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