Barnsdall schools to sell bonds on May 29

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

BARNSDALL — School Superintendent Jeff Lay recently thanked members of the local Chamber of Commerce, and Barnsdall residents generally, for supporting a $6.325-million bond issue for the Barnsdall Public Schools.

“Thank you so much,” Lay said, commenting on an April 3 bond vote, in which the bond issue received a thumbs-up from 73.24 percent of the electorate. More than 400 people voted.

Lay said the school district is scheduled to sell the bonds May 29. The proceeds, which the school district will receive by about 60 days after the sale, are to pay for renovations to the Fine Arts classroom building, restoration of the Old Pool House, providing water for an existing fire-suppression system for the old gymnasium, demolition of the existing press box/concession building, and construction of a new facility that would serve as a tornado shelter for the elementary school building.

Getting water to the fire-suppression system in the gym will be the first order of business, Lay said this week. The remainder of the improvements and additions have not yet been placed in an order of priority, he said. Lay will, however, be meeting soon with the architect and the project manager to work out those details, he said.

Much of the upcoming school year will involve maneuvering around ongoing construction work, he said.

“We will be consumed by construction next school year,” Lay said. He told Chamber of Commerce members to expect as much, anticipating that, “at the same time we’re starting school is when a lot of work will be going on.”

Lay also made the case to the Chamber of Commerce that the recent Oklahoma public school teacher walkout was less about salary increases for teachers than it was about school districts receiving sufficient resources for teachers to adequately serve their students.

He noted that Barnsdall anticipates having 31 kindergarten students in 2018-19, but only one kindergarten teacher unless sufficient resources are forthcoming from the state.