Fox Schools face financial dilemma

By: Dara Downs Email
By: Dara Downs Email

FOX, OK - Fox Public Schools attempted to pass a school bond last November to help pay for excess cost from improvement projects to several buildings on campus, but the bond didn't get the needed super majority approval and failed. Now Fox is forced with a big decision on how to make up the difference.

Fox Public Schools was able to make some much needed repairs to campus buildings when the residents passed a $1.2 million bond in 2007, but a sharp increase in the price of metal during the project left the schools with over $240,000 worth of excess costs.

"By putting in storm windows and improving the roof and taking care of what we have, it would cut the expenses quite a bit," Fox School Board member Pamela Nichols says.

A bond proposition in November to cover the costs didn't receive the super majority and failed, leaving Fox Schools with a financial dilemma.

"We wound up being short to complete the project, so instead of cutting the project we decided to lease purchase one of the roofs in order so we could do the complete project that was voted on by the constituents," superintendent Brent Phelps says.

Phelps says with cuts coming down from the state, they are doing all they can keep as many programs and personnel as possible.

"We've been absorbing when people resign, retire, or quit, we have absorbed, and right now we're at a bare minimum staff, and I really can't afford to cut any staff, and I don't want to cut any staff," Phelps says.

The school board is looking a several ways to make up the costs, one of them being a new school bond to avoid paying the price themselves.

"We'd be looking at trying to cut back on some other not programs, but cut back on several things that we like to offer our kids that we would be able to offer if we have to absorb the price," Phelps says.

Nichols says if residents choose to reject another bond, it could mean big changes for the school.

"If everyone would agree to pay a little bit instead of it being a big loss on one person, I think we can take care of the needs we have," she says.

The school board will discuss whether or not to try and pass another bond at their meeting later this month, but say absorbing the cost on their own would be very hard to take, and could lead to other cuts.


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