After months of research and planning, the Mustang Board of Education has finalized a capital investment plan to provide students with safer schools, more classrooms, updated facilities and more academic opportunities. Board of Education members voted Monday night to call a February 14, 2023 bond election for Mustang residents to consider the proposal.
“This is an exciting time for Mustang. People want to move here and be part of our outstanding community and schools,” Superintendent Charles Bradley said. “This investment plan will make a difference for all Mustang students by focusing on pressing needs. We can provide today’s learners with safer schools, improved facilities and more opportunities, while adding classrooms to address current overcrowding and future growth.”
According to a recent demographic study, Mustang’s enrollment is expected to soar to 19,780 students over the next nine years – a 46% increase from the current school year. The district’s long-term capital investment plan will allow the district to keep pace with future growth, while also minimizing the impact to local taxpayers. The plan includes construction of a new elementary school to address the exponential enrollment growth of recent years. In addition to classrooms, it will include secure entrances, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, a library and developmentally appropriate playgrounds. To accommodate growth at the secondary level, Mustang High School will receive an expansion that includes new classroom space and a new cafeteria, along with a new practice gym, athletic turf projects and upgrades to the softball facilities.
Many Mustang parents and patrons see the addition of classroom space as critical for the immediate future – not just for the school, but also the community. “Mustang is a great place to live and raise a family – and more people are taking notice every day. Our community is in demand and growing rapidly,” said Michael Ray, MPS parent, local realtor, and Vice Mayor of Mustang. “This plan allows us to ensure we have the classroom space we need for every child. It’s an investment in today’s students and Mustang’s future.”
Safety and security are key components of the facility plan as well, including cameras, secured access upgrades and fencing. The high school will expand badge access for students and staff, which will provide added security.
The proposed plan will also provide funding for:
Playground refreshes at elementary and intermediate school sites;
New buses and transportation vehicles to provide students with safe, reliable transportation to and from school and school activities;
Expanded student opportunities, including decreased class sizes and increased instructional time; fine arts and athletic equipment, uniforms, materials and instruments; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) equipment; and instructional resources;
Upgrades to technology devices for students and staff, along with updates to software and out-of-date classroom technology, like presentation boards; and
Improvements and maintenance for existing school facilities, including lighting, electrical, roofing, flooring and heating/cooling units.
The additional classroom space, safety and security features, and needed school improvements will benefit students and the community, Aaron Tiger, Mustang parent and local pastor, said. “Mustang schools are top notch. Like many families, we have moved into the community in the past five years and experienced the excellence that Mustang schools have to offer,” Tiger said. “Our schools and community will continue to be in demand and a place that people choose to be. If we want a great future for our community, it is important to continue to invest in our students.”
The total cost of the 2023 investment program is $180.9 million. For homeowners with a $100,000 home, the plan would likely cost $1.83 per month in additional property tax. Fortunately, because Mustang’s tax base is stable and quickly growing, previous bond programs have consistently impacted taxpayers less than expected at the time of the election. Currently, Mustang lags behind its 6A peers for the amount spent per student on capital investments. Out of 24 Class 6A districts in the state, Mustang ranks 20th – currently investing $346 less per student than the 6A average. If voters approve the measure in February, Mustang would move to 15 out of 24 for its per student investment.
The 2023 investment program represents the first phase of a three-phase plan to ensure the needs of Mustang’s growing population are met over the next decade. Additional projects will likely be proposed to voters in 2027 and 2031. Financial advisors predict that no additional tax increases will be necessary with the latter two phases. “A long-term vision is important, especially for a growing community like Mustang. I’m pleased that school leaders are developing a multi-phased plan to better serve our students and community,” said Brian Grider, MPS parent and Mayor of the City of Mustang. “They are prioritizing pressing and critical needs, like classroom space and school safety. The district’s financially responsible approach will ensure our investment will make the greatest impact possible.”
Bond issues require a 60% supermajority to pass. The final day to register to vote in the February 14 election is January 20. Update your voter information, request an absentee ballot, find your polling place, view a sample ballot and more in the OK Voter Portal: https://oklahoma.gov/elections/ovp.html.