A CLOSER LOOK: Heavener voters turn down $8m school bond measure

A Closer Look

HEAVENER, Okla. (KNWA) — Voters in the Heavener Public School District decided against an $8.3 million school bond issue to build a multi-purpose facility on Tuesday, February 11.

The plan was for two buildings to be done in two phases. “The bond would have been used for a multi-use facility for physical education for all grade levels along with three multi-use classrooms for concurrent classes and virtual online learning,” said Heavener Public School District Superintendent Ed Wilson. “The outer areas would also house a concession/restroom area for the visitors’ side of the football stadium.”

Oklahoma election guide document.

The school district has an outstanding balance of $445,000 as of February 2020 for a General Obligation bond. The initial amount was $1.9 million and was to be used for classroom additions across the district as needed. The locations are listed at 408 East Avenue F for a mid-level annex and 601 East 4th Street for the High School annex.

The measure needed 60% to pass:

  • 427 people voted
  • 255 (59.7%) voted against
  • 172 (40.2%) voted in favor

In Oklahoma, schools are funded through property taxes. Also, when you shop in Heavener the tax collected stays in Heavener. “Oklahoma is the only state in that nation that funds the municipal government through sales taxes,” said City Manager Cody Smith.

For 25 years Smith and his family have resided in Heavener. As for the bond measure — that failed — he was supportive of it. “I thought it was a good project and I have kids in the system,” he said. “It would have increased my property tax bill by $6.88 a month.”

There are 1,034 students and 81 teachers in the district. There are two schools Heavener Elementary School (692 students) and Heavener High School (342 students).

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS:

  • Ralph Perdue, Jr  –  President
  • Danny Yandell  –  Vice-President
  • Michael White  – Clerk
  • Tim Davis  –  Member
  • Dylan Roberts – Member

The local board of education will meet next month, revisiting the project may be taken up for discussion at that time … or not, according to the superintendent.

ABOUT HEAVENER:

The city is in Le Flore County, Oklahoma, has a population of 3,410 as of the 2010 U.S. Census, encompasses 4.9 square miles and is 12 miles south of Poteau.

OK Foods, the area’s largest employer, has been in business for eight decades and is one of the world’s largest fully-integrated chicken producers, according to its website.

For more than seven decades the Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway has run through Heavener because it is the midway point for the company — it’s a switchyard. It’s also a fueling dock and helps with the viability of the city.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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