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$99.5M school bond on Nov. ballot

During a special meeting Monday, the Lawton Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to call a special election on Nov. 14 to put a $99.5 million bond proposition in front of voters.

The district's current sinking fund (the fund to pay off bonds) mill levy is 8.13 mills and if the proposed bond passes in November, that mill levy would rise to 26.69 mills in 2022, said Chris Gander, investment banker at BOK Financial Securities, explaining the details of the multi-year bond issuance plan before the board approved the resolution. The operational millage rate is around 20. Going back to 2004, before a bond was issued that year, the mill levy was only 5.26.

"It is very unusual to have a school district with these fluctuations," he said, explaining that normally when the mill levy starts to drop, districts propose another bond to keep the tax levies steady and keep their district maintained and updated.

The raise is about investing in the youth, the education system and in Lawton's economy, said Superintendent Tom Deighan.

"It is about Lawton's kids. Our kids (and teachers) deserve to have what other districts have," he said. "This is not just about schools, it is about economic development for Lawton."

A city's low school bond debt can actually negatively impact companies who are thinking about moving into the area, said Joe Siano, vice president and investment banker at BOK Financial Securities, who, until recently, was superintendent of Norman schools for 17 years.

The Lawton Constitution

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