So confident was I that the Luther School Bond proposal would pass, that I got a pre-comment from Superintendent Barry Gunn during the school day Tuesday, asking what would be the next step. I didn’t even ask about what would happen if it didn’t pass.
There will be plenty of time for that. For regrouping. For asking questions, particularly to the 361 voters who said no. At the close of election night, there was disappointment, hurt and anger for many. And surprise for most everyone.
While there were more YES votes; there were not enough to gain the super majority needed for passage. That requirement is 60% and Luther voters only gave 50.88% approval to the wide-ranging $24 million package that called for safe rooms, a cafeteria, school facade, technology and a new basketball gym.
There were 735 votes cast, which is more votes than the last bond election in 2015 when the proposal failed by 85% with 699 votes. The gap has narrowed.
There were seven school bond elections across the state Tuesday night. Voters in Rush Springs also turned down their school proposal, while in Poteau, the bond passed with the slimmest of margins at 60.06%. All of the other bond packages passed with 85% or more of the vote. In Fletcher, 97% of voters approved a bond proposal that was less than a million dollars for a new roof. The Lawton Constitution reported the bond was at no cost to taxpayers.
In Dover, an energy boom related to wind farms likely led to the overwhelming 95% voter approved transportation bond package that cost less than one million dollars. Officials there told the Kingfisher Times & Free Press up to 96-cents of every dollar in ad valorem taxes is paid for by industry. In Luther, ad valorem revenue is collected in three counties, and the largest and possibly the only industry payer is OGE, who owns just half of the Red Bud Energy Plant. The rest of the property tax bill in Luther is paid by smaller industry and residential properties.
To end with a silver lining, it was BIG ROAD WIN for all three Luther basketball teams. The JV Boys, Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys won at Stroud Tuesday night. The Luther Register’s Lion Reporter covers all high school sports and many school related stories.