The Norman Transcript

Local news

December 21, 2007

Moore school board votes to call $69.9 million school bond issue

Transcript Staff Writer

MOORE -- For the second time in two years, Moore's school board has voted to call a public bond election to fund school construction projects.

The election, set for March 4, 2008, will earmark $69.9 million in school bonds to build two new elementary schools, a performing arts center at Moore High School and a gymnasium at Westmoore High School.

The schools would be the 22nd and 23rd for the 159-square-mile district and should be open in 2010 or 2011, officials said.

Monday's bond issue comes on the heels of an earlier proposal, approved by voters in February of this year.

That proposal, a $21.8 million bond issue, funded classroom construction, remodeling and renovation at several district schools and purchased new equipment. February's bond issue passed with a 73 percent "yes" vote.

Both proposals were needed, Moore superintendent Deborah Arato said, because of the district's rapid growth.

"Our school district and community continue to grow at a rapid rate," she said. "New commercial growth and continued availability of housing have made Moore Public Schools the third largest district in the state."

Arato said the district added more than 2,000 students in last four years, pushing its student population to 20,815.

"In 2006, we were designated the fastest growing 6A district in the state," she said. "We continue to grow by about an elementary school a year."

Current statistics, she said, show the district's student body increasing between 400 to 600 students each year. "The past five years, student growth has been very steady."

To accommodate that growth, Arato said the district needs to build two new elementary schools.

"In the fall of 2008, we'll open 15 new classrooms and our new Southmoore High School, which will help, but it's just a Band-Aid and won't solve the problem," she said. "That's why we want to build two new elementary schools."

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