Q: What is a bond election?
A: A bond election is a community vote on whether to give a school district permission to borrow money to make improvements. Just like people take out a mortgage to buy a house, school districts borrow money for construction, renovation, equipment, buses, etc., and then repay that money over time. Most school districts in Oklahoma and across the nation use funds generated by the sale of bonds to pay for needed improvements.
Q: What will the bond money be used for?
A: Funds will be used to increase student and community safety, add needed classrooms and maintain high-quality learning environments. A new classroom building will be constructed in a way so that it can double as a safe room to protect students, teachers and staff from tornadoes and other high-wind events. Combined with other safe rooms already on campus, the new shelter ensures protection for all students, teachers and staff. During non-school hours the new safe room will add to Bethany schools shelter space available to protect citizens who reside inside the boundaries of the school district.
Q: Will this bond proposal increase property taxes?
A: If voters approve the bond proposal property taxes will rise slightly. The cost will vary for each individual household based on the value of the home. For example, people living in a home valued at $100,000 would pay an extra $79.80 a year in property taxes -- about $6.65 a month.
Q: If voters approve this bond proposal, when will we see improvements?
A: If voters approve the bond proposal, construction is expected to begin in June 2021 and be complete by August 2022.
Q: When did we last vote on a bond proposal?
A: In the 110-year history of Bethany Schools, voters have never failed a bond election. The most recent election was in May 2015, when more than 95 percent of voters said “yes” to a $5 million Bethany Schools bond proposal. The funds generated from the sale of bonds paid for additional high school classrooms, expanding the high school auditorium, constructing new elementary small group classrooms, constructing a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) classroom building, and adding security and technology as needed in district buildings. Those improvements have all been completed and are in use daily by students and teachers.
Q: Can bond funds be used to pay teacher salaries?
A: No. By law, bond funds can only be used for purposes like building construction or renovation, and purchase of equipment, technology, textbooks, buses, etc. Bond funds may never be used for salaries.
Q: Why is voting for a bond important even if I don’t have children attending school in the district?
A: Good schools and good communities go together. A strong school system increases property values and is a reflection of the community as a whole. Bethany Public Schools are a valuable community resource, even for people without children attending those schools.
Q: What happens if the bond proposal is not approved by voters?
A: If the bond election is not successful, funds to provide these improvements will not be available.