Ponca City residents have not voted on a bond issue since 2015, six years ago. On Oct. 12, 2021, voters will decide on a proposed $49.7 million school bond election. This seven-year bond project is coupled with an additional $10 million of CARES funds to allow for improvements in the school district that aid in the mitigation and spread of COVID-19.
This proposed bond issue will not pose a tax increase for Ponca City residents.
Ponca City Schools maintain a mill levy of 22 mills. This is the lowest in Kay County and one of the lowest of all 6A schools. A mill levy is the tax rate used to calculate local property taxes. The rate represents the amount per every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.
“Ponca City Public Schools vowed to the community in the 1990s that if we could hold our mill levies even at 22 mills, we would leverage other funds to take care of needs and build and maintain state-of-the-art facilities for our students, staff, families. The sinking fund (bond) mill levy rate has been at 22 mills for nearly 30 years, and as a bond issue drops off the tax rolls, we run another bond election to improve our schools to enhance the lives of our students and community. Since the 1990s, we have been able to do so with unwavering support from our community, with NO tax increase. We so appreciate the support of our patrons,” said Superintendent Shelley Arrott.
In 1995 Ponca City voters approved a $10 million bond issue that paid for a new elementary school (Lincoln Elementary) and new math, science and business center at Ponca City High School. Renovation work was also done at the high school and additional vocational agricultural classrooms were built at the new AG farm in Ponca City.
Voters approved another $6.6 million in 1997. That money remodeled two elementary schools and the Howell building. It also completed renovation work at the high school and built a new track at Sullins Stadium. Additional funds were used to remodel West and East Middle Schools, plus added more technology at various schools.
In 1999 voters approved a $9.6 million bond issue that continued a comprehensive $38 million improvement package. The money remodeled, repaired and equipped both middle school campuses, along with an elementary school and high school gym.
A $37.5 million bond issue was passed in 2015. Those projects included the new Ponca City Public Schools Concert Hall, new football locker room, new ticket booths, new press box, weight training facility, Robson Field House improvements, entrances were secured at Trout, Woodlands, the Fine Arts corridor and West Middle School, plus windows, HVAC and bathroom upgrades at East Middle School.
The 2021 plan includes a number of repairs, renovations and construction for the district. Bond money will be used to renovate bathrooms, floors, HVAC units and paving at several areas across the district. Work will also occur at the tennis courts, baseball stadium, softball stadium and other areas across the district.
All projects can be viewed on the district’s website at www.pcps.us.