By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Next week, voters will head to the polls to decide on a $492 million bond proposal for the Mid-Del School District.
The record bond proposal includes a variety of projects aimed at improving safety and security, school facilities, fine arts, and athletics.
The bond proposal is divided into three separate propositions. The largest proposition includes $472,500,000 of construction projects and equipment purchases for academics, athletics, fine arts and security. Proposition 2 includes $10 million for an indoor aquatic center in partnership with the YMCA. Proposition 3 includes $10,200,000 for transportation.
Voters will decide on the three propositions separately. Each proposal must receive at least 60% of the of the vote to pass.
The nearly 20-year bond issue is projected to increase property taxes by $2.75 per month for a house valued at $150,000.
Superintendent Rick Cobb says they expect to move quickly on the building projects and have all work finished by summer 2026. The district will receive much of the money within a year and repay the bonds over the next 19 years.
“The first GO bonds will be sold in December and that’ll give us $7.5 million to start with things like fencing, cameras, badge readers, lighting and other security projects.”
Cobb is optimistic about the bond proposal. He’s given countless presentations and talks to school, civic and community groups over the past few months.
“I think people are very supportive of the bond and it depends on where you are,” he said. “I went to Midwest City High School (last Wednesday) and they were very interested in two major construction projects in the bond that would connect the PAC to the main building. And the second is the multipurpose facility which is by freshman wing and can connect to that.”
One of the most common concerns about the bond proposal is how it will help academic performance. Cobb said the main way that it will help is by providing annual funding for technology, textbooks and instructional materials.
“The state allocation doesn’t provide anything for technology and what we get for textbooks doesn’t cover half of the costs,” Cobb said. “We need seed money every year to make sure that we can buy textbooks every year.”
Cobb said new and upgraded school buildings will create a better learning environment for students and teachers.
“Studies show that quality of buildings impacts learning,” he said.
Cobb said upgraded school buildings also can help attract and retain teachers as well as families.
“The reason why Soldier Creek Elementary has so many transfer denials is because it’s full,” Cobb said. “We want our schools to be places where parents really want to send their children.”
The new and upgraded school facilities will impact insurance costs for the district. Cobb said they expect the liability to decrease as they replace older buildings and upgrade others.
“Improving the condition of the buildings is going to help with the premiums,” he said.
On the other hand, Cobb says adding additional buildings would increase costs.
The school district, like many across the country, had to absorb large insurance rate increases again this year. Cobb said they will continue to work with the state insurance commissioner and legislature to find ways to reduce costs.
“Anyone who is a homeowner is feeling this right now as well,” Cobb said about rising insurance costs.
For more information about the bond proposal, visit mid-del.net.