Building better classrooms: Central High needs voter turnout
Central High School District needs 60 percent of its 1,436 registered voters to cast a ballot Feb. 13, in favor of a $6.1 million bond proposal. Superintendent Kevin Dyes said the road to this election has been a long one. About 18 months earlier, a $17 million bond failed. A committee was formed to look at why it failed and hopefully prevent this upcoming issue from the same fate.
Out of that six-month committee study, Dyes said feedback gained that not only was the bond too much, it would have been on the rolls for too long, 25 years.
In October, the CH Board of Education approved this bond, and the school hosted three meetings for the public. "They were not necessarily heavily attended, but we did get a positive response."
Up for voter approval, a new Career and Technology Center - not to be confused with any other schools. Dyes said it would include classrooms for home economics, science and ag programs. All of those programs receive state funding.
The new building would include an ag mechanic shop and meat science lab.
"It allows students to be learning skills where they can be a butcher or work for a meat packaging plant, or become an inspector for USDA which requires a college degree." Students are already learning how to break down meat, with a recent lesson in taking a whole chicken and turning it into an 8-piece fryer for sale. The new facilities would provide the actual space needed for the lessons. He said everything the high school students would be learning, would not conflict with programs offered at the Tech Center in Duncan.
Additionally, the new building would include a culinary kitchen for the Family & Consumer Sciences programs. Currently, the teacher must use the teacher workroom.
"She'll have a better space to do that with this bond package. We've had kids go on to culinary school and work in the hospitality industry, restaurants, food service and hotels."
Dyes said the goal is to provide more options to students to help prepare them for their future. He also talked about the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program offered at Central High. Students learn mostly about robotics, but they have students who want to go into engineering. "Along with our regular science classes, this would free up space at both the middle school and high school, and even potentially at the elementary school."
The failed bond proposal of $17 million would have taken 25 years to pay off without a tax increase. This upcoming bond issue of $6.1 million would be paid off in 10 years. Registered voters in the Central High school district are 1,436 - 910 in Stephens County, 519 in Comanche County and 7 in Grady County. There is one registered voting address listed in Walters/Cotton County.
"Extra programs are extremely important for our students and college and career choices. I think this will improve the opportunities for our students in all those areas. Developing our STEM and robotics programs and meat judging - all have a competitive base. This new building would provide for them," Dyes said.
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