On Tuesday, January 12th, registered voters in the Ketchum School District – which is THE School District of the South Grand Lake area – will have an opportunity to vote YES on 2 separate propositions designed to keep the Ketchum School District moving forward in these times of stagnant to decreasing funding for public schools from our friends at the state level.

First, it’s important to understand why bond issues are so important to the future of public schools in Oklahoma.

A district’s General Fund – which is where the reduction in funding from the State is felt – is used for salaries, utilities and all the other basic, day-to-day operating expenses to keep a school open.

It should be noted here that General Fund expenses typically are NOT eligible to be supplemented with Bond funds…and that’s why the continued cuts to public education are such a problem for schools…particularly smaller, rural districts.

But it is with bond propositions that districts such as Ketchum are able to continue to move forward and create the kind of school district that is worthy of one of the most appealing areas in the State of Oklahoma by helping to pay for capital expenditures such as equipment (buses), educational technology (Chromebooks) and construction (new building for new Vo-Ag program).

Let’s start with Proposition 2 first, which is a Transportation Bond for $300,000 to help the district purchase 3 to 4 new buses and replace the older and higher mileage buses in the district’s fleet.

2016 Ketchum School Bond Issue

Buses are essential…and with so many students in the Ketchum district riding buses each day, it is essential to keep an updated, reliable fleet of buses.

And in today’s education climate in Oklahoma, there really is no alternative for districts to buy buses than with a bond issue.

That is why the Ketchum district is asking for your YES vote on this $300,000 bond proposition.

Moving (back) to Proposition 1 – this is a question of Building Bonds for $600,000 to be used to purchase Chromebooks/Laptops for all students and teachers (4th-12th grade) and to construct a Vocational Agriculture facility that includes a workshop and classroom.

Let’s look at that question a little more closely.

In case you haven’t noticed…the machines have already won.

And if we, as a community and school district, are not equipping our students with the basic technology capabilities that come with using computers AS A TOOL FOR LEARNING AND GROWTH then we are doing a great disservice when so many other districts out there are providing this opportunity for their students.

But even more than that…by purchasing Chromebooks, the Ketchum Staff is able to tap into the huge Google for Education platform that gives Ketchum teachers the tools to easily engage students and monitor performance.

This is a huge win for Ketchum teachers and students moving forward to prepare the students for the world that is waiting for them after High School…whether they are going on to college or starting a career.

The other part of that bond question is to construct a new Vocational Ag facility that includes a workshop, classroom and finally, FINALLY, gets a Vo-Ag program started at Ketchum.

If you have spent any time in the community at all…you know this has been one of the biggest questions about Ketchum schools for years…Why no Vo-Ag program?

And it has also been the #1 reason that hard-working, capable students have left Ketchum for neighboring districts.

While those that visit the South Grand Lake area throughout the summer see the Ketchum School District and think that it’s a district made up of a bunch of kids that live on the lake and such, those of us that live here know that is NOT the case.

The huge majority of kids in the Ketchum district don’t live on Grand Lake, and in fact live in rural areas of the district or the smaller towns of Ketchum and Langley.

And these are exactly the kids that benefit from a Vo-Ag program and that is why the new facility is so important….so that Ketchum has the space to start this program.

So…yeah…I’m writing this in support of the bond issues for the Ketchum School District.

But I’m not the only one who supports this.

According to Arrowhead Yacht Club owner Joe Harwood, “Anything to do with expanding and improving our local schools is an investment in our future. Plus quality public education availability is the single best thing we could do to attract young families to live full time at Grand Lake. This is a number one priority to grow our community.”

I couldn’t have said it better, Joe.

And what about your taxes?

The impact on your property taxes – if you are a property owner in the Ketchum district – is minimal.

For every $100 you pay in property taxes…your property tax bill will increase approximately $2. That’s TWO DOLLARS for every hundred dollars in property taxes.

So if your tax bill was $400, it will rise to approximately $408. $1,000 tax bill? Look for it to be around $1,020 with the passage of the bond issue.

A tiny price to pay to keep moving the Ketchum School District – and South Grand Lake area – moving forward.

So if you are a registered voter in the Ketchum district…get out and vote on Tuesday, January 12th at your regular voting spot and show your support for Ketchum Schools and the South Grand Lake area.