The superintendent of Pawhuska Public Schools anticipates the Board of Education will have the opportunity at its Feb. 11 meeting to review information regarding potential bond-issue options.
Superintendent David Cash said Monday he had met already with representatives of two bond advising firms and anticipated meeting with representatives of a third firm Tuesday. The purpose of the meetings has been to examine the school district’s financial situation and receive expert advice about what the district’s best bond-issue options might be.
Cash emphasized that the question he’s trying to help the board address is what sort of capital improvements would be wisest, given the Pawhuska district’s needs and prevailing financial realities.
“I’m very aware of what the economy is, and I don’t want people being put in a bind,” Cash said. “But we do have some glaring needs.”
Pawhuska Public Schools recently conducted a brief public survey regarding potential bond projects. Potential improvement projects that appeared to receive strong positive responses from the public included: renovation of existing buildings (HVAC, bathrooms and roofs); a new gym/community storm shelter/auditorium; and new security cameras/safety equipment.
Among 118 people responding to the item, renovation of existing buildings received 81 responses of either “4” or “5” on a scale of 1-5, with “5” being the strongest positive response. A new gym/community storm shelter/auditorium received 76 responses of either “4” or “5,” and new security cameras/safety equipment received 81 responses of either “4” or “5.”
New buses received 44 responses of either “4” or “5.”
The highest number of responses to any survey item was 118. The number of responses to some items was slightly lower — for instance, 113 or 116. The survey, which was carried out electronically, was emailed to some people and others may have gained access to it on social-media pages. For instance, a link to the survey was posted Dec. 12 on the school district’s Facebook page.
Another aspect of public opinion measured by the survey was how likely local residents are to support a bond-issue proposal that may raise their property taxes by $35-50. Among those responding, 59.8 percent said they would support such a proposal.
When the survey asked how likely residents would be to vote for a bond issue that did not increase their property tax bills, the level of likely support increased to 87.1 percent.
The Pawhuska Board of Education reviewed the survey numbers at its January meeting, and Cash told board members he thinks a need for new school buses may be the school district’s greatest immediate need. He also described the need for school building renovation as a “big deal.”
In an interview Monday with the Journal-Capital, Cash reiterated the importance of being able to acquire new buses.
“Transportation is probably our greatest need, if I had to pinpoint one area,” he said. He emphasized, however, that the school district is just exploring options right now. No decisions have been made, as yet.
Anyone wishing to express a view on the subject can contact members of the Board of Education, or contact district administrators, or attend the Feb. 11 meeting of the Board of Education and voice an opinion.