Guthrie Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Mike Simpson, gave a report on the district’s progress in completing projects from the bond issue voters approved in 2015.
Currently coming in under budget on items in the 2015 bond issue, funds were first used at Central to replace the roof and windows, fix the brick and install new heat and air units. The same work is going on at the junior high now.
Plagued by water intrusions at the junior high, Simpson said they want to seal the outside of the building before renovating further inside it. Once the new windows are installed, the junior high building will look like Central Elementary School.
Two other elementary schools, GUES and Fogarty, received new roofs via bond money and Charter Oak Elementary School construction was completed.
“There’s a lot of bells and whistles to that school that we don’t have in our others,” Simpson said of the first new school the town has built in decades. “If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right.”
Simpson reminded that the school site, situated 13 miles from town, is a reflection of the growth from north Edmond.
“We have more kids (in our district) that live outside the city limits of Guthrie than live inside,” Simpson said. “Because of the size of the district, our boundary zig zags along Waterloo Rd. We had kids who rode on a bus for two hours each way to get to school. We had tremendous transportation costs.”
By creating new schools and cutting transportation costs, the district hopes to funnel the money saved back into classrooms.
The district moved to neighborhood schools this year to increase parental involvement and reduce transportation costs, both of which already show improvement.
“PTO involvement now is at its highest,” Courtney McLemore, a school volunteer said. “Going to meetings this year, there were 20 of us. Last year there were three at one of the largest schools. It’s already increased.”
An unexpected benefit the district has seen this year is that discipline issues have decreased in the elementary schools, according to Simpson.
Remaining bond monies went to district-wide technology improvements to help keep students and assets safe.
“The last three weeks we’ve had crime in our schools and we have already used video technology for police to catch the perpetrators,” Simpson said. “If you are on our campus, you will be videoed regardless of where you are.”
Simpson said through the use of bond money, they have elevated expectations and hope to continue to raise standards for education in Guthrie.