BY C.L. HARMON
The school put its hands out toward the public cash register and the citizens overwhelmingly opened the drawer to the tune of $2.4 Million. With a whopping 94 percent approval, the voters have allowed the district to move forward with the times and keep the wheels of education turning.
Speaking of wheels, the bulk of the money is to go toward purchasing new transportation with seven new buses to replace ones that are on average 17 years old. Of these, five will be used on routes and two as activity buses which can also be used on routes if needed. The district has 18 bus routes, transports 1,100 kids everyday and has not bought a new bus since 2004, according to Mannford Superintendent Steve Waldvogel.
In addition, the district is purchasing four fleet vehicles, which will probably be Suburbans, Waldvogel said. He explained that these are used as activity vehicles primarily to transport small groups of students to activities. Their current ones are in “bad shape” he explained.
The specifics had to do with activities and so Waldvogel and his team looked at several areas and determined that the agriculture program needed a new trailer to transport animals, new band uniforms which are pricey at $500-600 each. The district is purchasing 60 of those. Wrestling competition mats were also decided on as this will allow the district to host tournaments. These mats are approximately $7,500 each.
Another major project, which will also benefit the public, is a new polyurethane track to replace the rubber one that surrounds the football field. It is bad shape as well and is used by many who enjoy walking as well as students. This will cost $150,000. Lights for the high school parking lot is another priority as well as some resurfacing in areas that have started causing problems.
Renovations include enclosing the breezeway at the lower elementary school between the front and back building, upgrade some of the bathrooms, painting lockers and replace some of the flooring in various buildings.
“We looked at doing some overall bigger things, but with building renovations like that would have eaten 2/3 or 3/4 of the bond money,” Waldvogel said.
He explained that this bond does not raise taxes, but is merely a three-year extension on what has been in place. He further said that in two years when the committee begins meeting again, it will consider larger renovations
In addition, there will be $250,000 spent on technology to improve, upgrade existing systems and to allow bringing more technology directly into the classrooms. Text books will also be purchased for reading and math programs. Waldvogel explained that the state does not allocate enough money to keep up on those needs.
The preparation of the bond began about eight months ago, Waldvogel said. He explained that the district begins doing its homework, looking at what it needs the most and in what areas. Then after speaking with teachers and administrators about what each site and grades needs, priorities are set and agreed upon.
“94 percent is phenomenal! It says so much about the people of the community and the school to pass at such a high percentage,” Waldvogel said.