Bond passage highlighted banner year for LPS
Lawton voters made history in 2017 when they handily passed Lawton Public School's $99.5 million bond proposal, the largest school bond issue to ever pass in the district.
The vote for the 11-year bond called the Student Investment Program (SIP) and designed to impact every site and facet of education for the district's students was almost 3 to 1 in favor, passing with 73.69 percent of the vote. Out of a total of 7,259 votes, 5,349 were " yes" and 1,910 "no," according to the Comanche County Election Board final results. The vote more than met the Oklahoma requirement that school propositions have a super majority of 60 percent of the vote to pass.
On Sept. 11, the Lawton Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution to call a special election on Nov. 14 to put the bond proposition in front of the voters.
In the face of the bond proposition requesting almost $100 million from the Lawton community, an all-out effort by district staff was launched to explain to the parents, community, business and organization members why students needed the bond so that the district could invest in its students like surrounding districts have done for many years. The effort included a Web page, Lawton CAN at www.lawtonps.org/lawton-can-overview, detailing the bond issue.
The page provides answers to questions from the community, property tax information, information about the bond oversight committee and what projects are included in the bond, as well as how each portion would affect the students.
Work has already started on some of the projects and is being tracked for everyone to access by the district's webpage, Lawton SIP 2017 at www.lawtonps.org/lawton-sip-2017. The funding stream for the projects will begin in January; the school board set 1 p.m. Jan. 18, 2018, for the sale of $3.06 million of the voter-authorized bond series.
The bond consists of six sections with funding set for each, including:
• Construction and furnishing of a new Eisenhower Middle School with safe rooms and demolition of the old building, $46 million. Burgess Engineering and Testing has already started on a subsurface exploration of the new school site, the field between Eisenhower High and the old Eisenhower Middle School. Meetings are underway and the project is in the pre-design phase. Groundbreaking is slated for spring 2018;
• Eight safe rooms/storm shelters for elementary schools currently without any type of shelter, $14.5 million. Site planning meetings and safe rooms are in the design phase for the following elementary schools: Almor West, Carriage Hills, Crosby Park, Edison, Hugh Bish, Sullivan Village, Whittier and Woodland Hills;
• Student and instructional technology and upgrades to allow students to have access to the extensive educational resources now online, allow more flexibility and access for educators and to prepare students for their futures, $7.5 million;