By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Some 54.35% of voters cast “yes” votes in Banner’s school bond election.
However, the proposed $6 million bond issue to fund a building addition failed this week because a 60% majority is required to pass a school bond in Oklahoma.
With nine polling places reporting results Aug. 23, there were 331 votes for the proposition and 278 votes against the proposition.
Another 35 “yes” votes were needed to approve the Banner Public Schools (BPS) bond project.
“We came up just short of the 60% needed to pass the bond,” Assistant Principal Samantha Smith posted Tuesday night on the school’s Facebook page. “Our teachers and staff feel defeated and disheartened, but I promise you, they’ll show up tomorrow for our students because we have the best of the best!”
Some 558 registered voters living in the Banner school district cast ballots on election day Tuesday. Another 51 “early” absentee votes were tallied, with 30 by mail and 21 in-person.
Banner’s school bond proposal earned strong support among voters at the Yukon Fine Arts Auditorium precinct (133-55) and the Canadian Valley Technology Center precinct (31-21).
The largest precinct losses were at the Canadian County Expo Center (53-61) and Stable Rock Baptist Church, where all 28 voters cast “no” votes.
“It’s so important to see that our community spoke up and had such a great voter turnout and 54.35% of the votes were yes votes!” Smith told Banner school patrons in her post.
“Encourage your teachers and staff tomorrow as parents and community members to keep pushing forward and continue trying to protect Banner’s legacy the best we can with what we do have!”
The $6 million, 10-year bond issue was proposed because of the rising student population in the K-8 Banner school district.
Bond proceeds would have been used to construct a new school building with eight classrooms, two multipurpose rooms, storm shelter, and office.
The new school addition was planned on the southwest corner of the BPS property, 2455 N Banner Road south of Interstate 40.
All available space already has been converted for classroom use at Banner School.
Banner’s enrollment has increased by 52% over the past seven years from 204 to 311.
With new housing development coming to the Banner area, Superintendent Michael Prior expects enrollment to grow by about 50 more students in the 2022-23 school year.
Approval of the Banner school bond issue would have increased property taxes for people living in the district.
The projected impact for a property owner who pays $1,000 in taxes was $175.01 annually ($14.58 monthly).
Banner’s millage rate will remain at 3.56, one of the lowest in the area.
Had the bond issue been approved, the rate would have increased to 16.31 – still third lowest in Canadian County – for two years.
Then the rate would have dropped to 11.56 in 2025 when Banner’s current school bond (passed in 2015) is paid off.