Editor, The Transcript:

Here we go again approaching the annual fundraiser for the Norman Public Schools in the form of ever increasing general obligation bonds to the tune of $16 million this year. This is the largest ever as touted by the school superintendent.

In 2004, the bond issue was $14 million and in February 2003 the bond issue was $8.83 million which was defeated and then when represented for a vote on Oct. 14, 2003, the amount had escalated to $9.145 million. Somewhere in the not too distant past the voters funded the Performing Arts Center to the tune of $10 million. The foregoing displays the insatiable appetite of the school board for more money.

This year's wish list of projects would not stretch to the $16 million requested so an undesignated amount of $1.4 million was added to reach the $16 million. In the scheme of things this is pocket change to the Board. From the total proposed bond issue only $2.110 million is budgeted for new classroom construction with $2.751 million budgeted for renovation of athletic facilities. One can readily see where the emphasis is placed. In the past few years millions of dollars have been spent on parking lot resurfacing. In this year's bond issue there is budgeted $811,000. Last year the allocation was $1,096,374 of which $245,875 was spent for a new concrete parking area around the Administrative Services Center building at 131 S. Flood St.

In this period of economic uncertainty we can do without new playground equipment, new computers which are obsolete upon delivery, improved athletic arenas and parking lot resurfacing.

The attitude of the school board is myopic. It should not be selfish but acknowledge other community needs such a new county jail, expanded library facilities and other capital needs of Norman which the taxpayers will be expected to fund. The city has come to the realization it might have to abandon or delay some of its capital improvement projects because of a lack of funds. The school board should follow this example. Family households are feeling the pinch. It is time for the Norman Public School Board to tighten its belt. The only way to get the message to the board is to vote no on Dec. 13.

WILLIAM H. MATTOON

Norman

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