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Yukon voters to consider $44.68 million school bond issue

YUKON — School officials here are asking voters Tuesday to approve a pair of proposed bond issues totaling $44.68 million.

The centerpiece of the proposal is a new elementary/intermediate school, a $28 million building that would house fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Bond money would also go toward other expenses, including roof repair, classroom technology and security upgrades across the district.

The larger of the two proposals, a $43.68 million bond issue, would fund construction, repair and other projects around the district. A $1 million transportation bond issue would go toward the purchase of transportation equipment. District officials don't expect the bond issue to raise property taxes.

Building a new school would allow the district to ease overcrowding at Yukon Middle School, which now houses sixth, seventh and eighth grades and has an enrollment of about 2,000 students, said Yukon Superintendent Jason Simeroth. If voters approve the bond issue, sixth-graders would be divided among the three elementary/intermediate schools — Independence and Lakeview elementary schools and the new school.

The new school would help the district cope with rapid enrollment growth, Simeroth said. Over the past 10 years, the district has grown by about 2,000 students. This year, the district has enrolled 300 more students than last year, he said.

That enrollment growth mirrors booming population growth in Canadian County. The county's population grew by 17.36 percent between 2010 and 2016, making it the state's fastest-growing county in terms of percentage of population during that period, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Simeroth said the bond issue would also allow school officials to make much-needed repairs and upgrades without needing to dip into the district's general fund. Projects like roof repair might not attract much public interest, Simeroth said, but they need to be done.

“The bond issue is like the lifeblood of (the) district," Simeroth said. “If we can't do those regular maintenance type of things outside of the general fund, then that really, really hampers what we can do as far as paying salaries.”

Silas Allen

Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri. Read more ›