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By Ray Dyer
Over the past several years, outgoing Superintendent Ranet Tippens was able to help keep El Reno Public Schools’ head above water by working to bring in grants. More than $7 million in grants flowed into the district to help fund programs related to health and physical fitness as well as academic areas.
While El Reno schools should continue to pursue grants and other sources of non-traditional funding, it’s time for the community to help move our school system to the next level, so to speak. We can take a big step toward this on Tuesday when the $45 million school bond issue will be decided.
From our perspective, this school bond issue is the most complete package we’ve seen presented to voters. It would maintain the high school’s downtown presence, creating a true campus-like setting. The bond package would also address early education needs by building a third- and fourth-grade center adjacent to Roblyer Middle School, which would become a fifth- and sixth-grade center. This would give parents of young children an opportunity to have their child attend school at basically one location from third through the sixth grade.
We believe school and city of El Reno leaders when they say the neighborhoods around Lincoln and Webster will have a say in determining the best use for those properties, scheduled to be taken “off-line” should the bond issue pass.
It makes no sense, again in our opinion, to pump millions of dollars into those outdated buildings when modern schools can be built for basically the same money.
With the average homeowner paying just a little more than $3 per month more in property taxes, this proposed bond issue looks to give citizens a substantial return on their investment.
Tuesday’s school bond issue election is vitally important for the future of El Reno. We’ll say it again, education and health care drive a community. El Reno, we believe, can and will move to the “next level” if voters approve the bond issue on Tuesday.