Notes on the Marlow Public Schools Bond Issue - Part 1 of 3

by Elizabeth Pitts-Hibbard

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles regarding the proposed Marlow Public Schools bond issue that will be on the ballot on February 8, 2022.

The Board of Education of Marlow Public Schools voted in December to approve a proposed 20-year lease revenue bond for the district in the amount of $34,150,000 and the decision will be up to voters in the district on February 8.

The proposed bond issue includes funds for a performing arts center, additional classrooms at Marlow High School, and improvements to athletic facilities for football and wrestling programs.

A portion of the funds will be used to pay the districts required 25% of a FEMA grant that will build safe rooms at the high school and middle school campuses. The safe rooms will accommodate 800 people each, allowing them to be opened to the public during severe weather.

“When people see $34,150,000 they say ‘Oh, that’s a lot of money,’” Coffman said. “But what are you getting for that? How many programs are you touching, how many lives are changing for the betterment of our future? Our future is where our kids are.

“If we don’t continue to make improvements for our infrastructure, we will get so far behind that it takes so much to build back up.”

Coffman discussed the proposed performing arts center, which will provide more space for band, speech, and vocal music programs, to illustrate his point.

“We’ve got a 94-year-old auditorium that has done its job,” Coffman said. “It’s time to get the next 94-year-old building. Somebody did that for our community almost a century ago, and we need to do this for the future of our schools. This will change the landscape of Marlow Public Schools for the next 40 to 50 years.”

The proposed bond, if approved by voters, will be on top of the $4,000,000 still owed on the 2011 bond issue that funded the new building at Marlow Elementary School. Coffman said that bond will be completely paid in September 2024.

“We can’t wait until August of 2024 to pass a bond issue, because we’ll go back to zero,” Coffman said. “All we’re doing is adding a little percentage to where we are.”