Mid-Del School Bond Election: Arts take center stage in bond proposal

A $130.6 million bond proposal in the Mid-Del School District would include funding for fine arts and performing arts. The money would upgrade the high school performing arts centers, improve classrooms and provide instruments, uniforms and learning materials. (Staff photo by Jeff Harrison)

By Tonya Little
Contributing Writer

The Mid-Del Community will be voting on a school bond issue on October 10. This bond includes many different things, one of which will be projects to the Performing Arts Centers of each of the three high schools; Midwest City, Del City and Carl Albert. These projects will include lobby renovations and expansions, updates to lighting and sound, classroom expansions, heat and air replacement, and stage curtain upgrades among other things, totaling approximately $13,195,000. Also within this bond, each year they will be setting aside money for principals to use for things such as uniforms and instruments. The schools will budget each year and it will vary how much each department will receive based on needs.

“We went around the district and talked to all of our schools, talked to patrons and had community forums, and it came up in several of the talks that we needed to upgrade our performing arts centers,” said Superintendent Dr. Cobb. “These are public spaces and classrooms spaces, they just haven’t been as high of a priority over the years as some of the other things that we’ve done like building new schools.”

The performing arts centers have had two major remodels, one in the mid to late 70s and one in the 90s. After a fire at Midwest City High School in the 70s, it led to a complete and total remodel there. Midwest City High also added a stage craft room and a classroom on the north side of the original PAC in the late 80s. The other schools got new carpeting, new sound and lighting, and new seating cushions during their remodels along the same time frames.

“The Performing Arts Centers are in bad need of a little bit of TLC. Everything in our bond this time really, there aren’t any wants, everything is needs,” said Mike Bryan, Executive Director of Operations at Mid-Del Schools. “These systems are getting harder and harder to manage. It seems like that we’ve been able to kind of limp along. We have some good people in our PACS, vocal music, drama, orchestra, they do the best they can with limited supplies and limited materials at hand.”

It would be in the student’s best interests to have proper equipment, supplies and learning environments that help them to achieve to the best of their abilities. Mid-Del schools want to provide that for their students in all aspects. The drama and music departments don’t always see the proper funding for these things due to budget cuts and limited resources. This bond will allow that to change and have these needs addressed and taken care of.

If the bond is passed and they have any extra provisions, they will take a look at doing some extra things like upgrades in the dressing rooms, carpeting and stage upgrades as well. If the bond is successful, they will receive the money somewhere at the end of the first quarter to the beginning of the second quarter of 2018. From there they will develop a set of plans which will be released. Once the projects are started, which is expected to be early summer 2018, it’s estimated the work will take about a year and a half to complete.

Bryan not only graduated from Midwest City High School, but so did his wife and two children. He has worked for this district for over 40 years and has been around to see many different bond issues, but he feels like this particular bond is more needed than any he has been around.

“It’s important that everybody vote. I can’t tell them what way they need to vote, but I can tell them this: Please, please vote. Because the facts are these, we have to have a super majority to pass. If we garner 59% of the vote, then we fail. We have to pass by 60%,: explained Bryan. “So this is really, really important to touch a number of kids. I don’t think I’ve ever been around a bond that touches a wider scope of our students. I would say that in my years of service, there’s not been a bond issue that is more needed.”

Mid-Del will be asking the community to approve the bond totaling $130,600,000. The bond will not raise taxes, all of the projects are expected to be done within 3 years and the bond issue will be paid off within 10 years. You can find out more about all of the issues in the bond on the website at www.mid-del.net.

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