Bryan Co. schools ask voters to approve bonds

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BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- Two area schools are asking for voters to approve bond issues on Tuesday. Both say they're in dire need of improvements, but not everyone agrees

Taxpayer dollars would help fund new buildings for Calera and Silo schools. Both have different needs, but they have one thing in common, a lack of space and outdated facilities.

For Silo schools, this isn't the first time they're asking voters to consider their school bond.

More than 800 kids are enrolled at Silo Public Schools, but the buildings were only designed to hold 400 max. Closets now serve as classes and offices.

On Tuesday, voters will decide on a $2.35 million bond. They've shot down two previous bonds, but superintendent Dr. Bill Caruthers says this one is $50,000 less, and this time, there's a lot more on the line.

"We have reached our capability in terms of renovating existing space at this point," Caruthers said.

The bond would pay for a new 4th and 5th grade center and renovate a building for a 7th and 8th grade center. It would also add a new ag building.

But resident Keith Christianson says the school needs to make due.

"Reprioritize their programs and they may find they've got enough money," Christianson said.

The bond would raise taxes by less than 10 percent in 2013 and that number would decrease over the following years.

"If a person paid $1000 in property taxes, they would pay less than $9.00 a month in increased taxes," Caruthers said.

"We're taxed to the limit and I think for me that's kind of the bottom line. We're just paying out all we want to," Christianson said.

Down the road, Calera Public Schools has a $2.4 million bond on the ballot. It would pay to build a junior high school with a new gym and four new classrooms.

"We've got some teachers that are rotating throughout the day, going to another teacher's classroom that is unoccupied for particular hour," Calera superintendent, Gerald Parks, said.

The gym they use now was built in the early 1950's.

"We're a 2A school and we're having a hard time getting schools our size to come and participate in our facilities," principal Kevin Robinson said.

If the bond passes, residents paying $1000 in taxes right now would pay an extra $8.22 a month.

"It would be good to separate the junior high from the high school kids. With the four classrooms, that's going to be very good for the kids," supporter Relita Cayton said.

Early voting begins on Friday. If you need to know where and when to vote, there are helpful links below.

Be sure to tune in on Tuesday, August 28, on air and online, for all your election results.

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